German National Tourist Office (GNTO) in Dubai, together with its partners Emirates, Munich Tourism and Steigenberger Hotel Business Bay, sprinkled a dash of flavour of German cuisine in Dubai in a bid to inspire guests to visit Germany.
Welcoming the invitees at Steigenberger Brothaus Bakery – Bistro in Dubai, Sigrid de Mazieres, Director—Marketing and Sales, Gulf Countries, German National Tourist Office, stressed on the importance of the GCC as being the third-largest non-European feeder market for Germany. She reiterated that from 2009, the GCC traveller number has been increasing year-on-year (YOY) that witnessed 4.5 per cent increase in 2017, and nearly 4.4 per cent this year up to June from the region. Some of the most-visited areas by GCC are Bavaria, Berlin, Munich, South West and NRW with 66 per cent overnight stays. The amount of spending per person per trip is 5000 euros, which is considerably higher than any other international tourist. The theme to attract international tourists this year is about the culinary journey. This is particularly interesting for visitors from the region as food and shopping are two main areas they focus on while travelling to Germany. Mazieres added, “Halal food, prayer rooms, family-oriented spaces such as zoos, parks, etc, coupled with great shopping destinations make Germany an ideal destination for the UAE visitors. With over 200 Michelin star restaurants, 800 natural mineral springs and many other attractions, the country has become one of the most-visited destinations for GCC travellers.
Shaz Peshimam, Senior Manager—Dubai and Northern Emirates, Emirates, stated that the new visa free facility to all the UAE nationals has made a great impact for their flights as earlier it was seasonal with UAE nationals selecting only as a summer getaway. However, they now take a quick break even during a long weekend. Emirates has been serving Germany for the past 31 years and tourists fly to four main areas — Frankfurt, Düsseldorf, Munich and Hamburg with 70 weekly flights. Three of the four destinations — Frankfurt, Düsseldorf and Munich operate with the new A380 aircraft and he added that by October, Hamburg will also enjoy the same operation. “We hope that this event is an eye-opening experience to the wonderful culinary adventures on offer not only in Germany but also during the journey on Emirates.”
Udo Johann Leick, Regional Catering Manager, Emirates, stated, “In keeping with the culinary journey, Emirates has a new menu onboard for travellers from the GCC to experience the ‘food tourism’ initiative launched by GNTO to ensure the experience is both onboard and on ground at the destination.”
Robert Leckel, Marketing and Media Relations—Russia, Middle East and Eastern Europe, Munich Tourist Board emphasised on the role of Munich tourism in the journey as it has nearly 12 Michelin star restaurants with special halal food for Arabic visitors. Three most important places visited by GCC travellers to enjoy a culinary journey are the Olympic Tower, BMW World and Werksvietel. He then recommended that a fiveday journey to Munich will be a good period to engage in various activities in the city. Southern Germany and particularly Munich have traditionally been the hotspot for most GCC travellers. To gain insight into Bavaria’s special food traditions, participants in the event were invited to take part in decorating gingerbread hearts and learn to prepare the Bavarian cheese delicacy, obatzda as well as pretzels.
According to a recent survey conducted by GNTO, 7 per cent of foreign holidaymakers choose to visit Germany because of the wide variety and high quality of dining, food and beverages on offer. In fact, visiting restaurants and cafés were listed as the second most popular holiday activity after sightseeing. The latest inbound tourism figures from the Gulf region reflect that Germany is increasingly becoming a popular holiday destination for Gulf nationals. From January to June 2018, overnight stays from the region increased by 4.4 per cent compared to the same period in 2017.