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Friday, 01 June, 2018, 11 : 51 AM [IST]

Germany Travel Mart 2018 Harnessing untapped Potential

GTM over the years has become an important tool in positioning Destination Germany brand to international source markets. Every year the organisers ensure that they showcase new products and lesser- known facts to the delegates who attend the exhibition from every corner of the world. This facilitates travel professionals to curate new itinerary or add new products which generates interest among the travellers to explore Germany. This is evident from the year-ongrowth the country has registered in the past few years, Prasenjit Chakraborty reports.

The 44th edition of Germany Travel Mart (GTM) took place from 7-8 May, 2018, in Dresden, the capital of Saxony. Organised by GNTB (German National Tourism Board) in association with Dresden Marketing Board, the edition saw participations of 338 exhibitors from the hotel and transport industries – together with local and regional tourism organisations. The grand opening ceremony took place at the renowned church of Our Lady and Kulturpalast. The city’s rich musical heritage was on display at the GTM 2018 opening ceremony. This year, travel industry delegates and international media from as many as 51 countries attended the event.

The exhibition showcased the latest trends, developments and tourism-related products in Germany to an international audience of trade professionals. The year-on-year growth of inbound tourism of Germany is a clear testimony of the importance of GTM. In 2017, inbound tourism (to Germany) registered a record high for the eighth consecutive year. Between January and December, the German Federal Statistical Office registered a total of 83.9 million overnight stays by foreign visitors. This is 3.1 million more than it was in 2016 and a year-on-year increase of 3.6%. Not only that, the beginning of 2018 has also seen this upward trend continue, according to the latest figures of 10.3 million overnight stays by international guests in the first two months of the year – a further year-on-year increase, this time by 5.2%.

Petra Hedorfer, CEO, GNTB, said, “Germany is very well positioned in the international tourism market. In 2017, we were once again able to build on our status as the second most popular destination for European travellers. GTM is an ideal platform for satisfying the existing high demand for travel to Germany and for harnessing untapped potential. For us, this means intensive communication with the traditional travel trade as well as with online tour operators.”

Hedorfer is also quite optimistic about India and happy with the growth from this market. While speaking to TravelBiz Monitor she said, “There exists a huge potential in the Indian market. Currently, our focus is around 10 cities of India where millions of people are living and this is quite big for us. We are constantly doing our homework so that we get more number of tourists from India. Our team in India is very professional and quite active on social media,” she said.

The decision of organising GTM at different cities every year is not without reason. Hosting the event in different places and in different zones helps in introducing lesserknown places to the international audience, which ultimately benefits travel agents to innovate with new products and itineraries. This was evident when TravelBiz Monitor spoke to few Indian buyers and they were unanimous in saying that attending GTM in Dresden is an eye opener to them as they came know many interesting places which will help them to create new itineraries. Besides, GNTB uses its annual theme-based campaigns to raise awareness among potential tourists of some of the lesser-known facets of Destination Germany. They are also used to highlight specific occasions, such as anniversaries and events that are particularly relevant for international tourism. This year the theme is ‘Culinary Germany’. The Culinary Germany campaign explores typical traditional offerings from every part of the country as well as innovative tourism, unusual locations and opportunities to experience the gastronomic heritage of Destination Germany in an authentic way.

India Perspective
Romit Theophilus, Director - India, German National Tourist Office, said that they have registered 850,000 overnights in 2017, and grew around 13.8% when compared with 2016. “Our goal is to reach 1 million overnights tourists by 2020 and over 2 million overnights by 2030,” he said. As far as the marketing strategy is concerned there has been a substantial shift in digital marketing both in B2B and B2C fronts. “Earlier our focus was mainly on B2B and we received tremendous support from the trade. “Even in the difficult times like recession and demonitisation, the trade has supported us and ensured that people from India visit Germany.”

German National Tourist Office plans to introduce its product in a bigger way to Bollywood next year. “We want to project Germany in a bigger way not only to Bollywood, but the Indian film industry. In this direction, we got an association of 9 states and German film commission as well and trying to bring them down next year for a project. During their stay they will meet eminent Bollywood producers and directors and will showcase Germany,” revealed Theophilus.
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