GNTB Takes Aim At Climate-Friendly Travel

The German National Tourist Board (GNTB) will be making a concerted effort to promote climate-friendly travel and a responsible use of all resources are essential as it builds on its already strong position within the international market.

Petra Hedorfer, Chief Executive Officer of the GNTB, observed that: “Recent surveys confirm that international demand for climate-friendly travel is growing. According to the GNTB Industry Expert Panel, the proportion of key accounts that regard Germany as a sustainable destination increased from 67% to 80% within a period of one year. 60% of key accounts are actively promoting Germany as a sustainable destination. 58% of international travel industry reps expect demand in this segment to increase further over the next three years.”

At the same time, research by IPK International confirms a range of attitudes to sustainability among potential visitors. 80% of international travellers regard sustainability and climate/environmental protection as important or very important. To feel more inclined to book a sustainable trip, around 40% of those surveyed would require a broader, more affordable range of offers as well as more specific information.

Looking at a possible levelling out of travel patterns, more than half of respondents would be willing to travel outside of the main season in principle. 43% could imagine foregoing a certain level of comfort and convenience in favour of greater sustainability, for example, during the journey. At over 90%, the interest in combining a city break with a stay in a rural region, provided that appropriate offers are available, is strong among international travellers worldwide.

The GNTB is actively setting the agenda for sustainable tourism through its theme-based campaigns. Together with its partners in the German travel industry, the GNTB is working on extending its visitors’ length of stay by offering innovative products. It is also putting more emphasis on tourism that combines cities and rural regions, and on promoting the off season.

From the customers’ perspective, Destination Germany is already well positioned when it comes to sustainability and to protecting the climate and the environment. According to a survey conducted in October 2022 by IPK International, exclusively for the GNTB, foreign travellers put Germany third in this category in a European comparison – behind only Switzerland and Sweden.

Germany is ranked sixth in the 2022 SDG Index, which evaluates progress towards achieving the United Nations’ sustainable development goals, and fifth out of 117 comparable countries in the World Economic Forum’s Travel & Tourism Development Index for 2021. It is also in the top ten of the 2022 YouGov Travel & Tourism Sustainability Ranking of all European countries.

The GNTB’s extensive marketing activities to promote sustainable inbound tourism to Germany are reaping rewards. For example, the proportion of inbound journeys to Germany that were made by train increased from 10.6% to 14.4% year-on-year in the period from January to October 2022. This was the finding of an analysis of mobile phone data carried out by Teralytics on behalf of the GNTB. Based on analysis by Forward Keys, the average length of stay of visitors who arrived by air rose from 8.3 days to 9.9 days in the first ten months of 2022, compared with the same period in 2019.

Inspektour’s Destination Brand Index for 2021, which surveyed people in seven European countries, revealed that 83% of travellers are keen on nature holidays, 74% like to visit castles, palaces and cathedrals, and 71 per cent are interested in culture.

Consequently, the GNTB will run three theme-based campaigns that will continue to keep the focus of its global marketing firmly on sustainable tourism in 2023.

For example, the new GNTB campaign ‘51 UNESCO World Heritage Sites – Historic Modern Germany’ highlights the wide variety of options for sustainable travel when exploring Germany’s different regions and cultural heritage.

And there will be a relaunch of the FEEL GOOD sustainability campaign, which promotes tourism offerings that have been certified as sustainable.

The GNTB will also continue its successful Embrace German Nature campaign.

From 2023, the GNTB will focus its brand communications more strongly on targeting sustainability-oriented lifestyle groups based on the SINUS META Milieus and analyse trends in key figures relevant to climate change mitigation for inbound tourism to Germany.