Buoyed by the tourism industry’s post-pandemic recovery, Germany’s national tourism organisation in India has observed a year-over-year increase of 214 percent in its business, a statement from the German National Tourist Office (GNTO) said. “We are looking at 2 million Indian tourists to visit Germany by 2030 with an equal split between business and leisure travellers,” Director of Marketing and Sales Office India at GNTO, Romit Theophilus said. From 20185 overnights in January to 161373 overnights in May there has been tremendous growth, which is expected to increase even better in days to come.
Speaking about how the business of tourism got impacted during the pandemic, Theophilus said while there are about 1,60,000 Indians who are in Germany on travel-purpose at the moment, around 4,00,000 Indians travelled to the European country before the pandemic between January and May 2019.
“Overall, in 2019 we had about 9.5 lakh visitors and in 2022, we are hopeful to do about 40 percent of that. We are expecting two million Indian tourists to visit Germany by 2030 for business purposes and leisure equally,” he said.
The German National Tourist Board (GNTB) has come up with a three-pronged recovery strategy for overcoming the challenges they faced due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The strategies include raising awareness of the destination and enhancing the brand profile with a focus on sustainability and climate change mitigation. It also includes developing evidence-based action plans on the basis of targeted market research and analysis of changing customer demand.
“The German National Tourist Board is promoting sustainable and forward-looking tourism with the objectives of the German government. Our organisation is following a three-pillar strategy that combines sharing of knowledge with external partners and a supporting communications strategy with our internal sustainability initiative. This is particularly important as the pandemic has accelerated the global shift in travellers’ values towards social and environmental responsibility,” he said.
Germany is home to more than 130 protected natural landscapes, including a plethora of stunning forests, lakes, valleys and hiking and cycling trails. It also boasts three UNESCO World Natural Heritage Sites, 16 UNESCO biosphere reserves, 16 national parks and 106 nature reserves.
“Indian travellers are keen to visit countries that possess ideal summer climates with a wide range of things to do,” said Romit Theophilus, Director, German National Tourist Office, India (GNTO). “Germany’s diverse selection of outdoor activities ensures something for everyone, from hiking trails to relaxing spa towns. Our Embrace German Nature campaign will improve access to and provide information about these opportunities even further, in a sustainable way.”
Four unique picks that fit the campaign are the Bavarian Forest National Park, Rhine Castles Trail, Berlin-Copenhagen Cycle route and Baden-Baden.
Speaking about the issuance of tourist visas, Theophilus said the travellers will have to apply for them at least two months in advance. “The visas are taking a bit longer, but colleagues at the visa section are working very hard to improve the situation and hopefully, this will get rectified sooner rather than later,” he said.
The GNTB has also come up with two new campaigns showcasing nature and cultural tourism that focuses on highlighting sustainable tourism attractions and open-air activities.
“The campaigns ‘German Local Culture’ and ‘Embrace German Nature’ convey the peaceful coexistence of generations, traditions, and different cultural influences. We are reflecting authentic, local experiences in urban destinations with the integration of rural areas and their sustainable tourism offers and natural attractions,” he said.
Germany has emerged as a preferred destination for Indian travelers. Eight hours gate-to-gate and with multiple daily flight routes from India to cities such as Frankfurt, Munich, and Stuttgart, Germany has long been favoured by the Indian travelers, indicative of the big growth, said Theophilus.
The festive season for Germany begins in mid-September with the start of Octoberfest.
Germany accounted for 9 percent of European trips of Indians. 55 percent of Indian tourists visit Germany for leisure while 38 percent travel for business, Theophilus shared figures specific to Indian travellers.
Germany is considered to be one of the top destinations for Europe travel among Indians. As per the Nations Brands Indeed, Anholt Ipsos Nation Brands Index SM 2021, Germany ranks No. 1 on the Nation Brands Index for the fifth time in a row. Its cultural centers, architecture, Gastronomical experiences, and outdoors have contributed as its biggest draws for travelers.
Furthermore, Nature and culture are two prominent drivers that are in sync with the abundance of relevant experiences that we have to offer said Theophilus. From meandering lakes and breath-taking mountains to traditional craftmanship and Bavarian fare- Germany is the ideal place for explorers searching for an easily accessible destination with plenty to see and do. The great news for shoppers is that they can earn up to a 19 percent VAT refund. (In Germany the amount paid for merchandise includes 19 % value-added tax (VAT). The VAT can be refunded if the merchandise is purchased and exported by a customer whose residence is outside the European Union. Please note that in order to qualify for a tax refund the merchandise has to be exported within three months of purchase.)