GNTO promotes Germany as a year-round travel destination

October 22, 2018

Samar Yahya

Saudi Gazette

With the aim to promote Germany as a year-round travel destination and to highlight the latest tourism attractions for the upcoming winter season, the German National Tourist Office (GNTO) in partnership with Emirates Airline held event in Riyadh on Sunday.

GNTO has a 4-day promotional tour kicked off in Riyadh, then Jeddah before continuing to the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait.

“In his welcome speech at the event in Riyadh, the new German Ambassador to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Jörg Ranau highlighted: “Germany as a destination for tourists from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is as popular as ever. This shows how close the people to people relations between Saudis and Germans have become. 44 UNESCO world heritage sites, a varied countryside and scores of activities attract more and more visitors. From the Alps in the South to the shores of the North and Baltic seas – there is something for everyone in Germany!”

Hisham Zaazou consultant advisor UN world tourism organization and former minister of tourism in Egypt said: “today’s convention reflects Germany keenness to attract Saudi tourists in diverse fields such as entertainment, medical treatment, and tourism and shopping as well. They are keen for more communication with travel agencies in Saudi Arabia to tailor make touristic programs for gulf tourists in general and Saudis in particular”.

Robert Schwarz, assistant attaché legal and consular section Embassy of Germany in Riyadh, said: “The visa system to Germany is a well established system through VFS offices in Riyadh and Jeddah. We have around 50,000-tourist visa annually. It takes between 10-14 days to issue tourism visa”.

General Consul Holger Ziegeler highlighted during his speech in Jeddah: “Every day, people approach me and rave about their experiences in Germany, during work or tourism, in cultural events, for medical reasons, during their studies or training, when shopping, or just for fun. I am flattered that my mother country has so many true friends and enthusiasts at the shores of the Red Sea. Our visa section works at full force to accommodate all applications by travellers.”

Recognizing the importance of the Saudi market, Sigrid de Mazieres, Director for the Gulf countries at the German National Tourist Office (GNTO), an affiliate of the German National Tourist Board (GNTB), commented: “Saudi Arabia offers huge potential for the German tourism industry, and we are delighted to showcase an impressive line-up of leading German tourism partners to the local travel trade industry in order to facilitate business and to inspire visitors to travel to our wonderful country.”

Khalid Al Haddad - VP Saudi Arabia at Emirates Airline, said: “We are pleased to team up with the GNTO to further strengthen our partnership with the travel trade in Saudi Arabia to attract more travellers to Germany. Germany is a very important market for us. We inaugurated our first flight to Frankfurt in 1987 and today, we operate to four gateways in Germany: Frankfurt, Munich, Dusseldorf and Hamburg.”

Altogether, we serve Germany with 70 weekly flights.

In addition, our iconic double decker, the A380, flies to Frankfurt, Munich, Dusseldorf and in just one week’s time, we will also take it to Hamburg. Emirates provides seamless travel options for Saudi passengers making their way to Germany, and we have strategic codeshare agreements with Deutsche Bahn for a full rail itinerary for enhanced connectivity options to gateways across Germany and to secondary cities across Europe. We are confident that our joint activities and marketing efforts will create more awareness around Germany and inspire more people to travel there.”

The trade events, which covered vibrant cities, medical travel, designer outlet shopping, luxury hotels as well as German tour operators informed guests of the latest travel attractions in Germany, on the occasion of the upcoming winter season with its festive markets, snow-filled holiday experiences and great year-end shopping sales.

The latest inbound tourism figures from the Gulf region reflect that Germany is a popular holiday destination for Gulf nationals. From January to July 2018 overnight stays from the GCC region increased by 5.3% compared to the same period in 2017.

Leading German partners were Cologne Tourist Board, DMC-Destination Management, Excelsior Hotel Ernst – Cologne, Hotel Nassauer Hof – Wiesbaden, Hotel Waldorf Astoria Berlin, Messe-Reisen Falk GmbH, TCME touristic concept GmbH, Value Retail Management Germany, Wertheim Village and Ingoldstadt Village and VisitBerlin.

The well-attended B2B events, which targeted key travel trade, media and other stakeholders, were hosted in the German Embassy in Riyadh and at the German General Consulate in Jeddah, demonstrating the commitment to the local travel market.

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