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Culinary Germany is key focus for GNTO India in 2018

Romit Theophilus, director for India, The German National Tourist Office (GNTO) speaks to Vaishalli R about the promotional campaign and how Germany is the best-suited destination for Indian travellers.

Germany is one of the most favoured European destinations among Indians. So much cosmopolitan that it attracts all with its significant landmarks, local life, urban style, dining and a plethora of scenic and natural landscapes. The destination has been witnessing a steady growth in visitor overnights since the German National Tourist Office (GNTO) was established in India in 2006.

“Germany witnessed over 8,50,000 overnights from India”

Speaking about the growth of inbound tourism of Germany in comparison to the last year from India, Romit Theophilus, director for India, GNTO said: “India has emerged as a strong source market for inbound tourism from Asia for Germany.

“We have witnessed a steady growth in visitor overnights from India over the years. In 2017, Germany witnessed over 8,50,000 overnights from India, which was a 13.8% growth over 2016. In 2018, Germany has witnessed 1,84,026 overnights from India until March, which is an 8.2% increase over the same period last year.”

A well-known business destination owing to its fantastic infrastructure and value-for-money offerings, Germany is focused on promoting newer experiences to attract more events and conferences. For Theophilus, it has been a very fruitful tenure spanning almost a decade and has thoroughly enjoyed promoting it.

The world-famous Oktoberfest

He continued: “My role entails promoting the destination as a favoured leisure destination with some of the biggest milestones achieved – the setting up of the Germany India Pool, an association of over 16 German partners who invested over 1 million euros in India in marketing activities over a span of five years and the launch of the DZT India Facebook Page in 2016 which has over 8,50,000 followers and has become a travel hub for Germany.”

“Abundant availability of vegetarian cuisine in Germany”

GNTO India focusses on theme-based marketing every year. “Our theme for 2018 is ‘Culinary Germany’ which aims to popularise Germany as a favoured culinary destination for Indian travellers. We also want to popularise the abundant availability of vegetarian cuisine in Germany, and break the myth that there are no vegetarian alternatives in German cuisine,” he added.

With over 5,000 beers from 1,300 breweries, 300 types of bread, 1,500 types of sausages, 13 wine regions, 292 Michelin-starred restaurants and 3,000 to 5,000 Christmas markets, Germany is sure to satiate a traveller’s appetite, he explained.

Though, one of the most challenging tasks faced while promoting the destination in India was to change the perception of Germany, especially with regards to the availability of vegetarian food and English being spoken by the locals. Now with over 1500 Indian restaurants, the destination caters to travellers with special culinary requirements. “Hence, the future promotion highlights the culinary side of Germany in 2018,” he said.

Theophilus expects destination Germany to continue to be one of the most favoured outbound destinations for Indian travellers heading to Europe. “We hope for a steady growth of 5-8% in visitor overnights in 2018, keeping in mind the past years’ statistics.”

Future promotion plans

Tourist favourite Neuschwanstein Castle in Bavaria

Keeping with the times, GNTO India aims to focus increasingly on the online media to market the destination – social media, online marketing and webinars for the trade. Further, looking at the influence of movies on outbound travel trends, GNTO aims to popularise Germany as a favoured movie destination, so as to showcase the abundant scenic and cultural beauty the country has on offer.

One of the prime goals of GNTO is to promote sustainable and barrier-free travel across the country. “We feel closely attached to this theme and actively promote responsible and inclusive tourism. Careful use of resources is now standard practice for many accommodation providers across all price categories and regions. Energy efficiency standards are high and environmental specifications strict, even in the construction phase,” he added.

Many accommodation providers have signed up to ambitious environmental and exemplary social practices: use of healthy building materials, joint projects with local and regional suppliers, fresh and high-quality seasonal cuisines, he concluded.

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