Germany hawks niche products to grow India market

THE GERMAN National Tourist Office (GNTO) in India has narrowed its marketing focus on highlighting the country’s niche tourism products to attract more Indian leisure and business travellers.

Tapping on Indians’ penchant for visiting casinos, Wiesbaden, a city in southwest Germany, is promoting them in tandem with upscale spas featuring thermal springs. The other products being showcased are Riesling wine and gastronomy tours, and the annual Oktoberfest beer festival in Bavaria.

Romit Theophilus, GNTO India’s director of marketing & sales, said: “We have budgeted 500,000 euros (US$663,660) to promote Germany in India this year. We will organise roadshows in major cities to target both leisure and business travellers.”

“Lately, we have seen a spurt of Indians travelling to spas in Baden Baden (a town in Baden-Württemberg in the south),” he added.

Yvonne Otto, director of POC Stuttgart, an inbound operator, said: “We are getting more requests for incentive groups and specialty tours (from India). They are exploring the country more extensively and going off the usual track.”

Vineet Gopal, joint secretary, Outbound Tour Operators Association of India said: “Germany and Austria are seeing increased demand from not only the big cities in India but also second- and third-tier towns. This is a trend that is likely to continue over the next five years, as a critical mass of middle-income Indians look beyond ASEAN to Europe.”

According to GNTO, Germany received 550,000 Indian visitors in 2011, compared to 455,655 in 2010, and 358,588 the year before.

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