VANCOUVER — The German National Tourism Office put its 2018 tourism campaign Culinary Germany on the plate as B.C. travel agents sat down to a meal of fine German wines, salmon and sumptuous desserts.
Next to France, Germany is considered the leading European designation for foodies, Antje Splettstoesser, GNTO Director of Marketing and Sales told agents attending the supplier trade show, dinner and round-robin table sessions at the Pinnacle Hotel Waterfront. Destination Germany Roadshow, with more than 20 suppliers, made its first West Coast stop in Vancouver before heading south to the U.S.
Presenters during the evening provided information on courses and food, as well as wine tours on offer plus festivals and attractions in major cities. Splettstoesser said the country has a range of product to offer including tours, FIT operators, river cruises, heritage travel, Jewish heritage travel, gay and lesbian travel, Catholic pilgrimages and 42 UNESCO heritage sites. The fall and winter attractions in 2017 include Oktoberfest and Christmas markets throughout Germany.
Claire Rottare, Sales Manager for Insight Vacations in B.C., provided agents with information on the upcoming 2020 Passion Play, which is held every 10 years in Oberammergau. Insight is offering tours and tickets to the popular event. “It is going just like that,” she said, snapping her fingers and urging travel agents to book clients now with Category 1 tickets before availability is exhausted. Insight also has a winter 2017 nine-day ‘Christmas Markets of Germany’ tour, with highlights Berlin and Dresden, and a ‘Best of Germany’ spring and summer 2018 tour.
Peter Ouzounov, Business Development Manager for the Globus family of brands, also has Passion Play packages available. Globus and Cosmos 2018 Europe brochures were on display at the trade show. “Our leading tour is the German Vista”, leading in at $2,024 for eight days departing May 20, 2018. The Bavarian Highlights tour ($2,447, nine days, departing May 20, 2018 and Sept. 30, 2018) is also popular.
Related: The Globus family of brands has been operating Oberammergau tours since the 1950s, so they know how to sell the destination. Kim Clarke, Director of Sales for the Globus family of brands, lets us know who are the best clients to target leading up to the once-a-decade Passion Play.
Globus supplied a flat sheet to agents which also included a budget tour Highlights of Germany (12 days for $1,906) and two river cruises: Romantic Rhine ($2,548 for eight days departing November 28, 2018) and Central European Experience ($4,418 for 12 days based on a May 21, 2018 departure).
Presenter Lisa Cherepon, North American Sales manager for Maritim Hotels, said the family-owned and independent chain has 33 hotels located throughout Germany. Some 25% of the guestrooms have been renovated within the past three years, she said. Maritim’s properties are located centrally and are within easy walking distance of attractions in towns, she adds. In 2020, the chain will opens a new property in Ingolstadt, Germany, as well as Amsterdam.
“Don’t ask Google – ask us,” said Sascha Mayerer, Marketing Manager for Historic Highlights of Germany, which specializes in forging relationships with travel agents and travel media as it represents 17 historic German cities.
Mayerer said the marketing organization has brochures available on what to do in various cities in Germany, which will help agents put together itineraries. Most cities are walk-able. The organization also has an online training program for agents. Email Mayerer at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit website at historicgermany.com.
Wiebke Freund, head of international marketing and sales for Baden-Baden Visitors and Convention Office, said a new type of tourism is emerging in the city: medical tourism. Individuals who are recouping from an illness or after an operation are arriving at the city for a longer stay to take advantage of the city’s natural spas. The city has two public baths with costs running $21-$30 per visit.
The office (baden-baden.com) can help travel agents find a range of accommodation within the city for those wanting a long-stay vacation. Baden-Baden also features Germany’s largest opera house, a Christmas market, and a casino. “Everything is within walking distance,” said Freund.
For agents wanting to plan culinary or cuisine itineraries for clients, the following tourism boards can help.
- Black Forest Highlands (visitblackforest.info): The area is the home of the famous black forest cake and for those wanting to learn how to make the dessert there are courses offered, said Sales Director, Irene Spiessl. The area also hosts a special Christmas market set in the Black Forest amongst the trees.
- Bremen & Bremerhaven: The two towns are marketed together but Bremen is known as the home of the global brands in the food and beverage industry, including Becks beer, Milka chocolate and Kellogg’s. Germany is the second largest food producer in Europe. Seaside town Bremerhaven offers attractions such as the German Emigration Centre. See bremen-bremerhaven.de.
- Freiburg Tourism Board: Manager of Sales Promotions, Carmen Escher, said the region is known for its wines, wine tasting tours, brewery tours and orchards. There’s also a farmer’s market. See freiburg.de.
- Nuremberg Tourism Board: The city is known for its organic foods and sausages. Martina Weber, Sales Director, said there are also courses available on how to prepare and use the city’s famous key-hole sausages. See tourismus.nuernberg.de for more information.
- Stuttgart: A must see event for wine lovers is the Wine Village (Aug. 29 to Sept. 9, 2018) with 500 wines from Württemberg and Baden can be sampled in 125 decorated wine arbors. Over 10 days Stuttgart’s chefs serve Swabian specialties to pair with the vintages. Contact Nicole-Joy Henzler, head of international marketing, for more information at email@example.com.