Southeast Asians flock to Germany

WIESBADEN, Germany, 16 May 2019: Southeast Asian travellers rank Germany the top destination in Europe, according to German Tourism Board CEO, Petra Hedorfer.

Basing the claim on recent IPK International research the head of GTB said: “This is a remarkable performance after eight consecutive years of growth. Germany continues to attract more travellers year-after-year, turning it into a true challenge as we need to permanently refresh our image and remain creative.”

The 45th edition of the Germany Travel Mart in Wiesbaden –near Frankfurt- was an opportunity to celebrate the success of the country’s tourism industry. For many years, Germany was associated with the annual wave of German outbound travellers seeking sun, beaches and exotic tropical destinations.

The country’s largest B2B inbound travel event, GTM attracted more than 500 travel professionals representing Germany’s inbound travel market and travel buyers from 51 nations.

“Today, Germany is perceived as a truly attractive destination for domestic and international travellers,” quipped Lufthansa Senior Director, Leisure Sales Home Markets Gabriela Ahrens who made a presentation during the GTM.

Over the last 15 years, Germany rose above its neighbours to become the top destination in Europe. Last year, the number of overnights by foreign visitors reached a new record – the 9th consecutive year of growth – at 87.7 million, up by a respectable 4.5%.

Foreign tourist overnights have grown by 153% since 1993, the equivalent of 53 million additional overnights.

“Germany has not only renewed its image through new themes but also embraced the latest digital marketing strategies. I believe that our slogan Germany, simply inspiring’ has turned our country into a powerful brand worldwide,” Hedorfer told a GTM media briefing.

While Southeast Asia’s top four source markets (Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Singapore) generated 2.4 million trips in 2019 to Europe, Germany recorded 377,000 trips from these four markets, a 16% market share with a growth rate of 11.2% over 2017.

In Southeast Asia, Indonesia is the largest supply market to Germany with 111,000 trips in 2018, although it recorded a moderate growth of 1%. By comparison, Thailand was among the fastest growing supply markets in Asia, up 17.1% last year on 96,000 trips

Commenting on Germany’s rise in popularity with Thai travellers, Hedorfer said: “Germany and particularly Bavaria – is extremely popular with Thais as it represents a destination with interesting cities, beautiful landscapes and a sense of safety.”

“More Thais are now venturing out to discover new destinations in Germany,” commented Express Holiday Centre managing director Chockchai Ittipanuvat, a major Thai tour wholesaler focusing on Europe.

Thai trips are likely to pass the 100,000 level for the first time this year. Singapore and Malaysia also recorded important growth rates of 16% and 15.2%, respectively, both generating some 85,000 trips in 2018.

“New flights from Singapore to Berlin and from Kuala Lumpur to Frankfurt have a positive impact,” stressed GTB Marketing and Sales Agency’s newly appointed Southeast Asia boss,  Nina Kubik-Cheng.

Theme tourism over the last two decades helped revitalize Germany’s tourism appeal. While the main theme this year – 100 years of the Bauhaus art movement – will probably lack relevance for Southeast Asian travellers. Another theme ‘German Summer Cities’ linked to a specific micro-website is more likely to catch their imagination.

The 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin wall could attract Southeast Asian millennials, according to Kubik-Cheng. The 2020 theme will emphasise Germany’s nature and musician Beethoven.

More information about Germany in Southeast Asia will be presented during GTB annual roadshow in Surabaya (7 to 8 October), Penang (9 to 10 October) and Bangkok (10 to 11 October) while a fam trip is planned for Southeast Asian influencers later this year.

(Author: Luc Citrinot a French national is a freelance journalist and consultant in tourism and air transport with over 20 years experience. Based in Paris and Bangkok, he works for various travel and air transport trade publications in Europe and Asia. He attended GTM as the guest of the German Tourism Board)

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