Not only was it the German National Tourist Office’s (GNTO’s) first in-person event in Canada since the pandemic, but it was also the first industry event for its new Director, Anja Brokjans.
The GNTO presented its new tourism campaigns in Toronto at an intimate gathering of travel suppliers, trade media, and other travel partners. The flagship: German. Local. Culture. campaign, which will run through 2022, is an ode to the thriving traditions, culinary tastes, outdoor adventures and vibrant customs that permeate Germany’s urban centres and rural regions.
Brokjans was eager to meet industry partners face-to-face for the first time since she started in May and share some of the themes that draw visitors to Germany.
"This event is the first time since I started this job that I'm able to get together with the industry and meet people in person," Brokjans told Open Jaw. "The people in this industry are so nice, so I really enjoy it. I love this job."
Germany is currently open to vaccinated Canadian travellers and has a lot to offer, starting with the Yuletide activities in its "Christmas Sparkle" campaign.
Looking to the upcoming holiday season, lovers of gingerbread houses, festively decorated castles, and illuminated Christmas markets make a big splash during Advent—but as Ricarda Lindner, Regional Manager of the Americas at the GNTO, told travel partners, the country is a year-round destination with experiences for all types of travellers.
Culinary aficionados, culture-seekers, outdoor adventurers, families, solo travellers, people with disabilities and mobility restriction, sustainability-minded visitors will find experiences that fit their tastes and needs, Lindner said.
One highly anticipated cultural event on the Germany tourism calendar in 2022 is Oberammergau, the Passion Play that takes place once every 10 years. Staged from MAY through OCT 2022, the play was postponed from its every-decade-on-the-decade 2020 scheduled run. Oberammergau is considered one of the most important religious and cultural events in Germany.
Lindner added that starting this year, Germany is celebrating the diversity of Jewish life in the country, whose Jewish-German history dates back 1,700 years. Cultural events and exhibitions started in 2021 and will continue through next year.
Travel is "Slowly but Surely" Picking Up
The ongoing pandemic continues to cause tumult in many places around the world, and Germany is not immune.
In recent days, media have reported that rising coronavirus rates are putting some of Germany's famed Christmas markets—a major tourist attraction—in jeopardy.
But Brokjans has high hopes Germany will continue to occupy a top spot for Canadian travellers, just as it did pre-pandemic when it was among the top five European destinations in 2019, attracting some 437,000 Canadians—74% of whom were leisure travellers, 15% business and 11% VFR.
Brokjans told Open Jaw that Canadian travel to Germany has "slowly, but surely" picked up over the last few months.
"There was a rise of Canadian travellers to Germany that started in August, so I'm optimistic about Canadians going to Germany. It's very easy to go to Germany—you just need to be double vaccinated," she told Open Jaw.
"I'm sure that next year, there will be a boom because Canadians love to travel to Germany and they're looking forward to travelling again."