2017 Articles ArchiveTop News Germany needs image reform to pull South-east Asian crowds By Pamela Chow / Posted on 27 October, 2017 10:44 In response to German National Tourist Board’s (GNTB) promotions in South-east Asia, agents are optimistic that Germany can become a viable off-the-beaten-track mono-destination for the region’s travellers. However, it is held back by the lack of awareness and a more exciting image in the region, opined both agents and stakeholders in the Germany tourism industry. Lesser known cities like Wiesbaden can be better marketed, agents say A main grouse is that the country is limited by common associations such as business, Oktoberfest and beer, when other aspects of the country can be marketed. Alan Ang, managing director of EU Holidays, said: “Singaporeans’ perception of Germany is very skewed towards Bavaria, Munich and Berlin.” He added that not many know about Germany’s “hidden gems”, which can be better marketed and have the potential to draw in bigger crowds from South-east Asia. Examples of this are the historic operational Roman baths of Wiesbaden and the country’s oldest beer brewery, located 35 minutes and 40 minutes respectively by train from Frankfurt Airport. Deeming awareness of the country insufficient, tourism stakeholders have taken marketing into their own hands. Frankfurt Airport has stepped up to exhibit at roadshows to promote the city and its surrounds, said its director of international tourism markets, Stefan M Kopp, and also launched an online portal to engage with travel agents and familiarise them with the airport’s services. However, things are starting to look up for trade players with GNTB’s latest efforts, said Hanne Lim, deputy general manager, operation centre, travel business division, Kaytrip. The Munich-based agency, which specialises in bringing Chinese-speaking tourists into Europe, has begun developing Germany-specific tours that ply routes like Southern Germany. Lim said that although the country has to vie with crowd favourites like Iceland and Northern Europe, Germany can woo customers who are looking for “in-depth sight-seeing”, and that more needs to be done to build awareness in Asia. The board in late-October wrapped up a week-long South-east Asian Roadshow, which stopped in Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, Jakarta and Singapore, and connected local agents with German tourism operators. The board earlier identified these four markets as South-east Asian economies with the most growth potential, and will be increasing mono-destination promotions in these markets. By 2030, GNTB hopes to grow its overnight stays in Germany by two million to 3.2 million.