Nuremberg, Germany — As Europe implements security measures, a point of concern during this election year, the German National Tourist Board (GNTB) continues to welcome seven years of consecutive tourism growth, GNTB CEO Petra Hedorfer said during the 43rd edition of the German Travel Mart held here.
More than 500 international travel industry representatives from 53 countries attended the three-day German Travel Mart (GTM). Located in Nuremberg’s NürnbergMesse Trade Fair Center, the event featured travel suppliers from Germany networking with international buyers. Hosted by GNTB, Bavaria Tourism, and the Nuremberg Convention and Tourist Office, the GTM is the largest ncomiong workshop for Germany.
Counting 80.8 million overnight stays by international visitors means another rise by +1.4% for Germany and a positive forecast of up to 2% growth in 2017. At the same time, Hedorfer said overseas markets showed a consolidation in demand in 2016 with 19.6 million overnight stays (-0.3%). The Netherlands, Switzerland, USA, UK, Austria, Italy, and France comprise the top seven markets that make up 50 percent of all inbound tourism. U.S. visitor traffic saw an increase of 2.5% over 2015.
The country is so bullish on the next decade that tourism executives say the country could potentially reach 121.5 million overnights in 2030. Looking forward, the U.S. would remain among the top 10 overseas markets in that scenario.
In the immediate future, travel agents may be on the look out for packages linked to several events and campaigns: 2018, Culinary Germany; and also in 2018, the city of Triers will be celebrating the 200th anniversary of Karl Marx’s birth; 2019 marks 100 Years of Bauhaus; and further ahead to 2020, the Passion Play in Oberammergau will be performed.
Host region Bavaria reported a total of 17.5 million overnight stays by foreign visitors, more than any other region of the country. Other double-digit regional stars include Brandenburg, Baden-Wurtemberg and North Rhine Westphalia.
"In Bavaria, we are traditionally different,” said Jens Huwald, CEO of Bavaria Tourism. In fact, the region boasts seven UNESCO World Heritage Sites, 111,000 acres of national park and more than 15,000 acres of vineyards. All told, Huwald reports that the regions legendary palaces and castles attract more than five million visitors a year. Currently, The Bavarian state exhibition 2017 dubbed “Knights, Farmers, Lutherans” is on display in Coburg; and in 2018, Ettal will present an exhibit entitled, “The Myth of Bavaria.” Additionally, Bavaria will be hosting the Passion Play 2020 in Oberammergau, which several North American tour operators showed interest in at the GTM.
Local host, Yvonne Coulin, CEO of the Nuremberg Convention and Tourist Office reported a total of three million overnights in 2016, contending that the city is indeed, a major travel destination especially as a jumping off point for river cruises, many of which begin in Nuremberg.The city's Christmas Market is one of the most famous in the world.
Nuremberg, the second largest city in Bavaria after Munich, is recognized for its storied history, from the medieval architecture in the Old City to the former Third Reich rally grounds and Courtroom 600 in the Palace of Justice where the post-World War II Nuremberg Trials took place. “Nuremberg’s past is an obligation,” said Coulin, and encouraged participants to visit the exhibition “Fascination & Terror“ at the Documentation Centre Nazi Party Rally Grounds.
During medieval times, Nuremberg was a trade center that attracted goods from remote places in the Middle East, hence a strong spice trade. One historian linked this with the local delicacy of lebekuchen, or spice cookies that visitors continue to enjoy today.
Some of Germany’s most famous German artists hail from Nuremberg, Albrecht Dürer for example whose former home and studio is opened to the public. Additionally, the city is also known for its cultural events such as the “Blue Night” or Long Night of Art and Cutlrue when the entier city is bathed in a hue of blue while visitors can enter one museum or attraction after another. Among the most visited sites are the New Museum – State Museum for Art and Design and the Germanische Nationalmuseum, which is next to the "Way of Human Rights" memorial.
Besides the tourism executives who gave their reports on visitor counts, forecasts and developments, German suppliers such as Lufthansa also took the floor. While the Star Alliance is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, Lufthansa has shifted some of its focus to its onw Group that includes Germanwings, SWISS, Austrian Airlines, Brussels Airlines, SunExpress, Edelweiss and Lufthansa Cargo. According to Thomas Kreillechner, Director of Sales, more digital innovations are on the way some of which already include FlyNet WiFi, Electronic Bag Tags, Mobile Boarding and Lufthansa’s own Chatbot, “Mildred,” all designed to enhance travel.
Tobias Heusler represented Deutsche Bahn, which is known for its high-speed connections to most major Central European cities. The high-speed train fleet will be replaced gradually by the new generation ICE 4 and by 2018, the Berlin-Munich route will take under four hours. DB is also working with Flinkster, a car sharing network and Call a Bike, a bike sharing system throughout Germany.
Next year’s GTM will take place in Dresden in the State of Saxony. "Next year the GTM will take place May 6-8. We would like to thank the DZT for choosing our city," said Dr. Bettina Bunge, MDG Managing Director, Dresden's official marketing organization.