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Monday, 30 June, 2008, 10 : 00 AM [IST]

Germany: ‘Communicating’ it right

Though Germany is a popular MICE destination among Indian travellers, the German National Tourist Board is striving to promote the country as a standalone destination targeting both, business and leisure travellers, reports Kanika Mehta
0105_ms_Germany1.jpgThe German National Tourist Board (GNTB), with the aim to focus on educating the travel trade, consumers and the travel industry about Germany as a destination started its operations in India in 2006. With Germany being a popular destination worldwide, starting a National Tourist Office in India in order to secure the market for Indian outbound tourists is an important step taken by the Board.

Romit Theophilus, Director, India, German National Tourist Board, maintained, “Our main goal is to enhance the image of Germany as a travel destination and to increase the number of overnight stays by Indian tourists. Any strategy that we plan at any point is based on our fundamental goal. We started by educating the market and consumers and then progressed to enhancing the image of the destination. Now we want to consolidate the market.”

For the current year, GNTB has developed a comprehensive marketing strategy focusing on:
  • Cultivating the market – Developing products
  • Diversifying activities
  • Communicating Germany – Generating Enthusiasm
  • Endorsing the theme for 2008
Cultivating the market – Developing Products
The country recorded 1, 38, 000 visitors and 2, 84, 004 overnights from Indian tourists in 2006. “India is an important market for us. Though Germany shares an image of a business destination among Indian travellers, it is becoming equally popular with the leisure tourists for its splendid offerings in terms of historical monuments and palaces and also the cultural celebrations in the form of festivals throughout the year,” offered Theophilus.

The board is cultivating the Indian market and aims to come up with India-centric products. They are promoting ‘Destination Germany’ in order to target the various sections of travellers like the High Networth Individuals (HNIs), the experienced travellers and also for encouraging the tourists to go for combined tours to various countries of Europe including Germany as a stop-over. Workshops were conducted in the last quarter of 2007 to promote Germany as a leisure destination and to emphasise the theme-based promotions.

Diversifying activities
A number of marketing activities aiming at promotion of Germany and increase in the Indian tourists will be undertaken in 2008. These activities including presentation of ‘Destination Germany’ at leading national and international tourism trade fairs for generating awareness, developing business avenues with the travel trade at workshops and road shows, arranging suppliers interaction from both sides to establish sales relationships, organising FAM Trips for media representatives and travel professionals on the theme Destination Germany and using extranet as a source of information and a training medium for the travel industry, are aimed at boosting the tourism potential of the country. It will also help in establishing sales partnership between travel agents and tour operators from India and Germany.

Communicating Germany – Generating Enthusiasm
GNTB has offered versions of its website in Indian regional languages in a bid to attract clients from across the country. In addition to this, GNTB is planning for intensive press and publicity work by conducting around 250 press and PR events in the country and in its key markets. They are also planning on heavy advertising in order to secure partners for tourism service providers and continuous development and production of new theme related advertising material such as sales brochures, image brochures, product flyers and catalogues.

“The most important aspect of any marketing strategy is the successful communication of the desired message. We aim at communicating Destination Germany through a wide array of activities and also through our website. We are working at achieving cooperation with the media. Supporting and marketing of packages for specific target consumers within the country is also an important objective,” offered Theophilus.

Endorsing the theme for 2008
The primary format of promoting Germany is through assigning a theme to the destination every year. While, the theme for 2007 was ‘Art and Culture in Germany - Discover Diversity’, the theme for 2008 is ‘Palaces, Parks and Gardens’. The other focal points will include ‘Festivals in Germany – from the largest Schutzenfest fair to the prettiest Christmas Market’ and Culinary Germany.

“The idea of theme-based promotions is to highlight a different facet of Germany every year. The theme, ‘Palaces, Parks and Gardens’, presents the diversity of the nature and culture in Germany showing multiple facets of romantic Germany and its impressive historical buildings and landscape gardening,” maintained Theophilus.
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