Looking at hitherto known destinations in the much loved destination of Germany, the first webinar exploring the diverse Southwest Germany concluded recently with participants from UAE, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman and Bahrain.
1.8 million overnight stays from GCC in 2019
Starting off the webinar, Yamina Sofo, Director – Sales & Marketing, German National Tourist Office shared that in 2019, there had been 1.8 million overnight stays from GCC nationals. Sofo gave an overview of the destination and reiterated that Germany is an ‘Arab travellers’ paradise’ as it has all the different activities much loved by the clientele. From sightseeing to cultural and historical areas with many castles, shopping areas that include some of the most famous luxury brands, 287 Michelin star restaurants, many areas that offer a wide range of halal food options and a medical tourism destination for GCC travellers. The special video she shared expressed the vibrancy of the destination. Germany is now open for travel for certain categories such as medical travellers, students, diplomats, business and event participants with a valid Schengen visa. As UAE is in the ‘safe list’ there is no necessity to quarantine but there are mandatory documents that need to be provided prior to flying to the destination.
Sofo reiterated that Emirates and Etihad are operating flights to Frankfurt and Munich and GCC visitors are able to travel, except for leisure. “Currently we are running the campaign ‘Discover Germany from home’ until it opens for leisure, at that time we will have a new campaign. Every two weeks all countries in the Schengen region meet in Brussels and an update is shared regarding the current situation. We are currently talking with OTAs and partners for Q4 and beginning of 2021 to promote Germany for our clients. All safety measures are being carried out in all areas, especially hospitality and attractions.”
An all year-round destination
Natalie Dietl, Sales and Marketing Manager, State Tourist Board Southwest Germany, welcomed everyone from the sunny side of Germany and shared the fastest way to the area which is via the Stuttgart Airport, which is the sixth largest airport in Germany with ‘Restaurant Top Air’, the world’s only airport with a Michelin star. Bordering France from the West and Switzerland from South, and 20 minutes from Stuttgart Airport to city centre, this is an area rich with many experiences. Stuttgart, Black Forest and Black Forest Highlands, Lake Constance and Swabian Alb are some of the areas in Southwest Germany. She explained the many historical and traditional areas with castles and lakes that make the Ger-man Riviera where one can visit and explore as well as the more modern areas are well received. From authentic museums to high-end dining restaurants to river boat cruises that are one-of-a-kind are some of the key highlights presented about the destination. Dietl also mentioned the special training programme for travel agents about the destination ‘Time to go cuckoo’ and requested that they have a look at the site.
Dietl shared that four of the most famous areas were Heidelberg, Tubingen, Baden-Baden and Konstanz. She reiterated that there are nine privately owned luxury hotels in South-west Germany; three in the northern area, five in Black Forest area and four in the Lake Constance area. She also mentioned the many excursions that one can enjoy from South-west Germany. “It is an all year-round destination, especially popular in spring and summer due to the many activities and skiing and Christmas market in winter. It is best to spend at least one week to explore Southwest Germany,” she added.
Unspoiled nature and highlands in Black Forest
Christian Gross, Head of Incoming/MICE – Hochschwarzwald Tourism (Hochschwarzwald Tourismus GmbH – (Black Forest Highlands) was the next speaker to share about the naturally unique destination that is both picturesque and breathtaking for every visitor. He explained about the many activities that can be enjoyed at the Black Forest Highlands include from canoeing to hiking or biking or just gliding from tree-tops, taking a boat cruise or a cable car to enjoy the spectacular view.
It is situated on an altitude of 700 to 1,000 metres above land with beautiful lakes and naturally unique landscapes. Bordering France and Switzerland and getting across in the famous ‘deutsche bahn’ (train) is a good way to get around. With the City-Ticket, the train journey does not finish at the station. It can be used on suburban trains, subways, buses and trams in the respective area of validity.
City of fashion
Angela Rieger, Sales & Tourism Manager – Outletcity Metzingen, shared the perfect ‘shopping destination’ for the GCC travellers. She started off by describing the rich history from 1820 when the first textile factory opened and the significant entry of the tailor shop by ‘Hugo Boss’ in 1923, followed by the opening of its first factory sale in Metzingen in 1972 and starting off the destination as ‘Outlet City Metzingen’ in 1995 which today receives about 4 million visitors. Rieger stated that the ‘City of Fashion’ has the largest Hugo Boss outlet, which is over 5,000 square feet in size and every outlet is spacious as a special shopping paradise. She reiterated the VIP services available for the many clients from the GCC with special helicopter services, Muslim prayer rooms, halal food, shopping shuttles and the nearby historical area offers an additional excursion during the visit.
The destination has over 130 of the biggest fashion and home brands that go on very special rates from 30% to 70% in their flagship stores in the Outlet city. From Prada to Nike, the fashion arena houses all brands that entail the GCC lifestyle. All outlets are spacious with a very unique look and feel to the whole area. A new addition earlier this year has more brands in store with various dining options and among the upcoming areas would be a brand new beauty treatment area with some new properties such as signature Marriott collection that would come up within the next two or three years.
We are currently talking with OTAs and partners for Q4 and beginning of 2021 to promote Germany for our clients. All safety measures are being carried out in all areas, especially hospitality and attractions — Yamina Sofo
It is an all year-round destination, especially popular in spring and summer due to the many activities and skiing and Christmas market in winter. It is best to spend at least one week to explore Southwest Germany — Natalie Dietl
The many activities that can be enjoyed at the Black Forest Highlands include from canoeing to hiking or biking or just gliding from tree-tops, taking a boat cruise or a cable car to enjoy the spectacular view — Christian Gross
Outletcity Metzingen has over 130 of the biggest fashion and home brands that go on very special rates from 30% to 70% in their flagship stores in the Outlet city — Angela Rieger