Germany Encourages Travellers To Stay A Little Bit Longer

During a press conference on March 17th for the 49th Germany Travel Mart held in Essen, Petra Hedorfer, the CEO of the German National Tourist Board, highlighted that travellers’ behaviours have shifted slightly coming out of the pandemic. Although city breaks are popular again, she shared that travellers are now combining these trips with elements in the great outdoors.

“According to research by the Sinus Institute conducted in December 2022 on behalf of the GNTB, 54 per cent of respondents would consider combining their city break with a trip to the countryside,” she said. “And 39 per cent would combine their stay in holiday regions with trips to towns and cities. In light of this, we believe there is a golden opportunity to use Germany’s outstanding cultural tourism offering to inspire travellers to visit the country.”

Following a memorable party in a massive Zeppelin airship hangar last night, the 49th instalment of Germany Travel Mart wraps up today. Some 350 international travel trade and media representatives from 39 countries — including a Canadian delegation — are currently taking part in the conference, considered to be the most important sales event for inbound tourism to Germany.

After two years of crisis, Hedorfer, noted that inbound tourism picked up again last year, and data from tour operators suggests that 2023 is continuing on an upwards trajectory.

“The mood in the international travel industry is positive. 75 per cent of the 250 key accounts on our Travel Industry Expert Panel expect their German business to continue to grow in the first six months of 2023,” she added.

One of the key strategies for the German National Tourist Board going forward is to encourage travellers to stay a little bit longer in the destination, a concept that will soon be featured in marketing campaigns.

“Today in Europe, we’ve become a very classic travel destination,” she said. “Stay a little bit longer — there are so many reason why, not the least to reduce your carbon footprint.”

With a significant number of overnight stays in Germany coming from business travellers, the destination will also focus on growing the bleisure segment.

“The 2021 Destination Brand survey also revealed a close link between an affinity for sustainable travel and interest in cultural experiences. This ties in with our aim of inspiring visitors to extend their stay and make it more sustainable, and of boosting the integration of rural areas into cultural tourism,” she said.

Compared to 2019 levels, Germany’s recovery rate is at 75.7% — with recovery from markets within Europe already reaching 80.8%.

“It is clear that tourism in the new normal will be more sustainable and more responsible. We need to work together to make this happen,” she shared. “We are seeing a growing interest in sustainability. People want authenticity. They are much more aware of their own responsibility and of the importance of the environment. International research shows that customers will choose sustainable travel if the option is there.”

The Canadian delegation on hand for GTM includes Sandie Vanderschot, Ellison Travel & Tours; Harry Goetschi, Groupe Tours Chanteclerc Inc.; Vincent Veerasuntharam, Connaissance Travel & Tours and Yury Manukhow, Canadian Gateway/CG Journeys.