Explore beyond the mundane

Romit Theophilus, Director-India, German National Tourist Office, believes that the Indian market is increasingly exploring myriad facets of Germany by travelling beyond the popular cities.

TT Bureau

The recently-held ‘Discover Germany’ roadshow in Delhi, Bengaluru and Mumbai by German National Tourist Office (GNTO)—India aimed at cementing Germany as one of the leading destinations for Indians travelling to Europe. The German partners included regulars like Maritim Hotels, Baden Baden, KD German Rhine Line, Lufthansa German Airlines, Rail Europe, Vienna House, Saxony Tourism and Stuttgart and Southwest Germany. Two new partners at the event were Europamundo Vacations, a coach tour operator and a&o Hotels and Hostels, a hotel chain.

Talking on the sidelines of the roadshow, Romit Theophilus, Director-India, GNTO, said, “We are quite happy with the way Germany is being perceived in the India market because many people are now considering the leisure segment. We have a lot more people asking for solo Germany and we love hearing travel agents tell us about that. We have also seen an overwhelming increase in the number of registrations on the web-based destination training module www.germanyspecialist.com launched in December 2017.”

Germany has seen a growth of 13.1 per cent from January to July, 2018 from India. We expect to close the year with approximately 900,000-920,000 overnights

For the period January to July, 2018, the country received 54,7402 visitor overnights, marking a growth of 10.8 per cent from India compared to the same period last year. “Germany has seen a growth of roughly 13.1 per cent from January till now from India. We expect to close the year with approximately 900,000-920,000 overnights. We are on track to hit our target of One million overnights for 2020. I really hope that we do that before time,” he shared.

Theophilus mentioned that their focus this year is on Culinary Germany. “The goal is to showcase that German food not only entails meat but is quite diverse as well. The food in each city, state and the countryside is different. Our chief goal is to showcase German food exactly in that manner,” he claimed.

Despite multiple destinations and venues suitable for Indian weddings, Theophilus said that Germany unfortunately hasn’t been big on Indian weddings. “We are working on tapping the wedding segment by creating a lot of VR content and showcase weddings by virtually displaying sites and inviting people to come and plan their dream weddings in Germany. We have many castles and historical places that would be perfect as wedding venues and backdrops. In fact, affordability still ranks us as one of the better destinations in Europe because hotels, sightseeing and the general experience is much cheaper and affordable as compared to other places in Europe,” he informed.

Speaking on travel trends, he said, people are now keen on exploring beyond the big cities in Germany. “For us, it was always Frankfurt and Munich which the India market preferred. Berlin gained popularity later with Dresden following suit, especially for an Eastern Europe itinerary where people tend to combine it with Prague and Berlin. Besides, we have seen a lot of travellers exploring states like Bavaria and Southwest Germany. Since there is a lot of Germany unexplored in the India market, we see a lot of potential in North and Central Germany. We are also promoting self-drives in Germany and creating awareness about the same,” claimed Theophilus.

While the ‘Discover Germany’ roadshow is organised in bigger cities, GNTO is also tapping the Tier II and III markets in India too. “Year on year, we have been noticing an increased interest from the Indian travel trade in Destination Germany. This can be witnessed by the overwhelming participation received at our roadshows,” he shared.

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