GERMANY GOING FORWARD WITH GUSTO
Germany is “bullish” on its prospects for travel from Canada this year – after all, the European nation saw 253% year-over-year increase in overnight stays in 2022. And while any statistics these days are inherently inflated due to diminished travel during the pandemic, the German National Tourist Board expects travellers to continue to rediscover, or continue to, travel again with gusto this year.
GNTO director Canada Anja Brokjans this week revealed new tourist board data stating that Canadians spent a total of 485,348 nights in Germany last year (2021: 141,505).
Though still short of the record level of 733,951 in 2019, the 66% deficit compared to 2019 allows for plenty of room for growth as Canadians return to travelling, she said, adding, “Our goal in the medium term is to reach the number of overnight stays we had before the COVID-19 pandemic.”
“We know that Germany appeals strongly to Canadians that are interested in culture and history, city breaks and culinary experiences,” Brokjans continued, and she believes German tourism is ripe with attractive offers to entice travellers, including room rates that are typically lower than elsewhere in Europe.
Germany is also serious about sustainable travel – “it’s not a buzzword, it’s a way of life,” she says – which is a shift in travel that is accelerating in Germany and is well received by Canadians.
Indeed, according to the Sustainable Travel Report 2022 from Booking.com, 65% of Canadians are more likely to choose sustainable accommodations. And according to the Global Web Index 2022, environmental protection is top of mind for Canadians with nearly half of travellers (47.8%) willing to pay more for eco-friendly products.
GNTO campaign 2023
Cognizant of the shift in values and behaviour of international travellers since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, the GNTO has three different campaign themes for 2023.
The “51 UNESCO World Heritage Sites – Historic.Modern.Germany” campaign is aimed at the contrast between historic world heritage and the diversity of products in urban and rural areas. Germany offers guests not only unique and authentic experiences in combination with a city and nature stay, but also sustainable travel experiences – such as highlight how many of the sites can be accessed in a in a climate-friendly way by public transport.
The campaign is also designed to ensure that guests find the offerings so attractive that they plan a longer stay – which also supports a lower CO2 footprint.
In addition to the UNESCO campaign, the GNTO is promoting two campaigns with a strong “green focus” that proved successful impact in 2022. In 2023, the campaigns will be played out with new travel ideas and inspirations.
The FEEL.GOOD sustainability campaign promotes climate and environmentally friendly offers in a focused fashion, appealing to potential international travellers to discover Germany’s national landscapes and sustainable holiday experiences in rural regions. One third of Germany consists of protected natural landscapes, while 16 national parks, 16 biosphere reserves and more than 100 nature parks vividly demonstrate how to protect the beauty of nature and preserve biodiversity for the future.
And ‘Embrace German Nature’ is a campaign that shows how diverse and unique natural landscapes in Germany are and how they too can be reached in resource-friendly ways.
In addition, the GNTO is touting Germany as a destination that is highly sensitive to barrier-free travel, due to the ongoing commitment of the government and accommodation providers in recent years to provide necessary information and infrastructure that allows people with disabilities to plan and have a carefree trip.
“We are proud of the efforts we have made to make Germany an accessible destination for all,” says Brokjans. “From wheelchair ramps and audio guides to sign language interpretation and accessible accommodations, we are committed to ensuring that everyone can experience the beauty of our country.”
Preferred travel destination
Meanwhile, according to an IPK International survey commissioned by the GNTB exclusively for the recent ITB travel show in Berlin, Germany ranked in third place as a desired travel destination worldwide, after Italy and Spain and ahead of France and the US.
For Canadians travellers to Germany, 39% report being primarily interested in city trips, 19% want to visit multiple destinations, 22% are VFR/other, and 19% are business; and 33% booked through a travel agent.
Brokjans noted that Canadian will have ample opportunity to get to Germany this year, with lift having recovered 88% of pre-pandemic levels, including 96 flights from Air Canada and Lufthansa, the most recent being the launch of service from Montreal to Frankfurt on March 26, and 18 flights from Condor, including new Edmonton summer service launching in May.
And those who want to check out Germany before they go can now do so via virtual reality with the GNTO offering its own app that can be downloaded for the purpose.
First published at Travel Industry Today