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Friday, 19 May, 2017, 12 : 37 PM [IST]

GTM 2017, Solidarity of German Tourism at Display

On the backdrop of a 1.4% growth in international overnight stays in 2016, and Germany continuing its feat as the second most popular destination for Europeans for the seventh year in a row in 2016 despite slowdown of the economies in some countries and tensions of Brexit, the Germany Travel Mart 2017 was marked by a strong display of unity. The host city, Nuremberg, ensured that delegates got a taste of its local cuisine and Bavarian art & culture. Disha Shah Ghosh reports.
German orchestra performing at the inauguration of GTM 2017

Amid growing concerns of safety & security across Europe, the German National Tourist Board (GNTB) managed to put up a strong show at the 43rd edition of Germany Travel Mart (GTM), sending out the message of taking the business forward

through bilateral tourism. The event returned to Bavaria for the sixth occasion in its history, this time in Nuremberg, best known for the Nazi trials, offering a common platform for exhibitors to negotiate contracts with their global counterparts over a pre-scheduled meeting format. Nearly 1,000 delegates from across continents converged in Nuremberg for GTM 2017, organised by GNTB in conjunction with Bavaria Tourism and Nuremberg Convention and Tourist Office.

Delegates at GTM 2017

The official opening ceremony of GTM 2017 on May 7 at the Opera House of the Nuremberg State Theatre, one of the biggest theatre complexes in Germany, saw a thundering musical performance highlighting the various facets that Germany offers to a global tourist. Each evening event offered a peek into the local life like the blue night, termed as the biggest night of art and culture, when the entire city was illuminated in blue, or the dinner at the German National Museum which gave delegates a guided tour into German history, culture & art, or the Nuremberg Town Hall where an amazing display of food carts was put up for delegates to indulge into some traditional food and wine while a local music band put up a stellar show.

India Buyer Feedback

Supriya Kandhari, MD, Chrysalis Holidays Pvt Ltd (Benglauru)
This was my third successive year at GTM, and the event is getting better with each edition in terms of organization. The host city goes all out to showcase a world-class tourism product. I met new exhibitors from different regions and have quality interactions. The event also serves as a platform to meet old suppliers and build up on the past year’s meetings.

Rani Bachani, VP, Viceregal Travels and Resorts Ltd. (Kochi)
This is my first participation at GTM and I learnt a lot more about Germany in detail, including its cities and countryside. This will help me promote Germany in detail and as a stand-alone destination in India. I am happy with the organization of GTM because it gave an opportunity to move around easily and meet exhibitors beyond my scheduled meetings. By meeting some new and niche products, I am sure of curating some new itineraries for leisure guests.

Monika Walter, Director, Eurocursions (New Delhi)
My colleague had attended GTM last year, and this is my maiden participated at this annual event. Although the exhibitor profile was good, their division in categories was not very clear for me to pre-fix some of the appointments. I am happy with the organisation of the event and could meet some of the exhibitors’ impromptu, which is unlike many international trade shows.

Subhash Motwani, MD, Namaste Tourism (Mumbai)
I had last attended GTM in 2009. I find GTM as one of the best organised trade shows globally. The organisers ensure the schedule is followed with precision and there is enough space for buyers to move around. Since the products were divided into regions, and further segmented into hotels, tour operators, etc. I could identify the location of the exhibitors easily. The GTM mobile app offered access to the supplier list through which we could fix unscheduled meetings during lunch time.

Amit Watts, Director-Business Development, Equator Tours (New Delhi)
My core focus is MICE travel from India and Germany is known over the world for its trade fairs. This year the GTM dates suited my calendar and I am happy to have participated in the event. I met some new hotels, products and restaurants. I am hopeful of undertaking some more contracting with suppliers through my meetings here.

German Exhibitors’ View

Wolfgang Gartner, Head of International Marketing, Saxony
This is my 13th year of participation at GTM and the event is important for global trade because GTM offers an interesting mix of products, workshops and meetings. Since Saxony receives an encouraging number of Indian overnights, I had the opportunity to meet some new agents as well as renew contacts with the old ones.

Andrea Zahn, Faber Castell
I met a few members of the Indian buyer delegation and I believe we could work out a good deal, because Faber Castell pencils are quite popular in India. We offer 3 products – the factory side, Castle and the Lead Museum, a tour to all three could be combined. We are hopeful of turning Faber Castell as proffered guided tour for Indian visitors, especially school groups.

Simone Raith, Ferienregion Nationalpark Bayerischer Wald
Since Nuremberg is hosting the event, we decided to participate this year. We currently receive few Indian guests and the national park can be a great option for travel agents from India to incorporate in their itineraries.

Gertrud Schaller, Travel Trade Relations, Bavarian State Opera
We don’t receive many Indian visitors, because the culture of opera is still new to the market. However, I met a few agents from Asia and I am hopeful of some interesting deals through my meetings here. We have been participating in GTM for a long time, and event acts as a measure of training agents and exposing them to new products and offerings.

In the run-up to the event, nine pre-convention tours were held for delegates, focusing on different themes to offer a sneak peek into the lesser-known tourist offerings of Germany. Besides, educational programmes were organised for the travel trade to ensure a two-way communication about the business of inbound tourism. For international journalists, themed-excursions were conducted with options ranging from modern tour to culinary tour, wine tasting and music trails.

Delegates during meetings at GTM

A marked difference from the overall travel sentiment to Europe was visible at GTM 2017 wherein delegates seemed to have only one agenda in mind—inbound tourism promotion. From the host city to representatives of castles & operas, from coach tour operators to regions, each exhibitor had their focus set to elevate Germany’s position in the global tourism market, despite the concurrent result of the crucial change of guard in France, and the growing divide among European nations.

Substantiating Germany’s position in the tourism industry, Petra Hedorfer, CEO, German National Tourist Board, said, “Despite the global economic slowdown in high-volume inbound source markets and concerns regarding Brexit, 2016 was the seventh record breaking year in a row for tourism, as Germany recorded 80.8 million overnights by international visitors, a massive jump from 60 million in 2010.” She said that in a competitive European continent, with different economies, Germany performed well because of its stabilised approach. “January and February 2017 saw global travel demand rise by 3.2%.” For 2017, GNTB has set a target to achieve 0-2% growth in international overnight stays, while 2018 will see GNTB launch a culinary tourism campaign #Enjoy German Food.

An Indian delegate during a meeting at GTM 2017

The 15-member Indian travel trade delegation at GTM 2017 had 13 first-time participants, who at large met with a new breed of travel providers, opening an opportunity to revamp their time-tested itineraries. Over the years Germany has cemented its place as a popular leisure destination for Indian travellers. In 2016, Germany recorded 748,737 overnight stays by Indians, which is a year-on-year record of 8.1%. “This year, we are forecasting the growth figure to reach between 7 and 9% as Germany is among the top 10 European destinations for Indian visitors. We will be organising a three-city roadshow in India during the first week of September in Mumbai, Delhi and Ahmedabad to create awareness and educate the agents about the country and its offerings,” said Romit Theophilus, Director - India, German National Tourist Office.
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