GERMAN Travel Mart (GTM) was a platform to kick start celebrations for the city of Munich, which this year celebrates its 850th birthday, and visitor figures published at the event showed that the city is becoming massively popular with the Middle East market.

“What is truly spectacular is the figure for visitors from the Arab Gulf States. Growth of 38.1 per cent generated 253,007 overnight stays for Munich’s hotel business last year alone,” said Dr Gabriele Weishaupl, director of the Munich Tourism Office.
“Munich is favourite for both Germans and our foreign visitors. The international attractiveness of the Bavarian capital is evidenced by the percentage of foreign visitors who stayed overnight: 47.7 per cent. Altogether, 2.1 million arrivals from foreign markets were registered in Munich in 2007 (up 2.1 per cent) and 4.5 million overnight stays (up 8.1 per cent),” she added.
The popularity of the city with Middle East travellers was put down to Munich’s cultural heritage, range of high end shops and boutiques, pleasant climate, numerous parks and palaces and its central European location.
The range of events lined up for the city’s milestone year has been deliberately chosen to showcase as many sides of Bavaria as possible, and to attract as many different types and nationality of tourist as possible.
Festivities will run all year and tourism chiefs are predicting that the increased marketing of Munich as a ‘top city’ will boost tourism and raise its profile on the world stage.
“We had 102 million day visitors alone to Munich last year and we are proud of all the attractions we can offer. We are much more than just white sausages and beer!” said Weishaupl.
Cultural highlights running from this month onwards include an Adolph Menzel exhibition, a ‘Typically Munich’ exhibition, The Munich Opera Festival and the high profile Kandinsky exhibition.
Festivals and markets will include The Town Foundation Festival, the Old Town Ring Road Festival, The Isar Bridges Festival and the world famous celebration of Bavarian beer – the Oktoberfest. Sports enthusiasts will also be gathering for the Munich Marathon in the same month.
Tourism chiefs in the city have adopted the international slogan of ‘Munich is more…’ and Weishaupl believes they are set to improve on the already impressive visitor figures from the past few years.