Since January 2017, the German National Tourist Office (GNTO) is represented through the German Emirati Joint Council for Industry and Commerce (AHK) in Business Bay. Sigrid de Mazieres, Director– Gulf countries, GNTO tells TravTalk about the great synergies they are leveraging on in the Emirates.
Q) What are the latest plans for UAE in terms of marketing strategy?
We are thrilled to kick off our central annual campaign ‘Culinary Germany’ to promote ‘Destination Germany’ in 2018 with special focus on Germany’s food landscape. We look forward to taking travellers on a culinary journey filled with wonderful travel memories. ‘Culinary Germany’ will lie at the heart of all our GCC-wide cross-media marketing activities, aimed at raising Germany’s profile as an attractive year-round destination.
Q) Which are the unique offerings that attract UAE tourists to Germany?
Germany has something for everyone – be it culture and entertainment in Berlin, Frankfurt, Hamburg or Cologne, romantic river valleys, medieval castles and unspoiled nature. Throughout the country, visitors can enjoy amazing shopping facilities, excellent infrastructure and many gastronomic delights. As the birth place of Martin Luther, Albert Einstein and Karl Marx, Germany is also a replete with a lot of history.
Q) How important is the GCC market?
The GCC travelling audience is of major importance to the German tourism industry and the local travel industry is well equipped to cater to visitors from the region. In 2016, we had over 2,039,837 overnight stays from GCC nationals and we are positive about attracting more GCC travellers to Germany after demand slightly softened in 2017. ‘Culinary Germany’ has a strong appeal to a wide range of travellers and we expect it will steadily boost tourism numbers over the coming months. Looking at the future, the GNTO forecasts 3.6 million overnight stays until 2030 from the GCC region.
Q) What is the average spend by the tourists from UAE to Germany?
The GCC is one of the top 20 source markets for Germany. GCC travellers tend to stay 11 nights on average and with 4,683 euro per person and trip, they spend comparatively more than other international travel audiences. Germany also remains a very popular destination for medical tourism, which results in longer stays with family members for medical treatments.
Q) What is the recommended itinerary and preferable months to visit Germany?
Southern Germany and particularly Munich has traditionally been the hotspot for most GCC travellers. Our aim as the National German Tourist Office is to highlight the great variety Germany has to offer all year round, be it the breathtaking natural landscapes of the diversity of the North Sea Coast with its quaint North Frisian islands, the stunning Thuringian countryside with its famous Wartburg castle or the less explored cities of Dusseldorf, Dresden, Leipzig and Stuttgart.
Q) Which segment of tourists mostly visit Germany?
The majority of visitors from the UAE come for leisure, especially during the summer months. It is a destination where you can easily spend one or two months without getting bored as it is so diverse. Around 29 per cent is business travel and visitors often tend to extend their trips by a few days. Medical tourism is also a key driver as Germany is well-known for its high-quality health system and medical care.
Q) Will you be encouraging MICE tourism?
If so, what are the incentives for agents? In general, we have a strong line up of different events and educational initiatives in the pipeline for the travel trade this year. Travel events such as Arabian Travel Market (ATM) where we will have a strong presence along with roadshows and other activities will ensure that travel agents, tour operators and other industry professionals will be kept updated with the latest happenings in ‘Destination Germany’.