Spotlight on Germany

The Zollverein Coal Mine Complex, a UNESCO World Heritage site in Essen, Germany.
The Zollverein Coal Mine Complex, a UNESCO World Heritage site in Essen, Germany.

More than 600 tour operators, travel agents, and international trade and consumer journalists from 43 countries gathered together in Bremen and Bremerhaven for the 40th GTM Germany Travel Mart, a 3-day event that brings together German exhibitors from the hospitality industry and the tourism sector, as well as local and regional tourism organizations dedicated to promoting Germany as a travel destination for foreign and European visitors.

“The GTM offers us an outstanding business-to-business platform for Destination Germany,” says Petra Hedorfer, chief executive officer of the Germany National Tourism Board (GNTB). “It’s a high caliber forum where German suppliers can come together with key account managers from all over the world to market Germany as a travel destination.”

Hedorfer shared impressive tourism figures to an audience of international journalists during a press conference. In 2013, over 70 million overnight visitors traveled to Germany—that’s an increase of 4.5 percent from 2012, and sets the country in sixth place (behind Spain, Italy, France, the UK, and Austria) in total overnight stays by foreign visitors.

This year’s GTM was held in the cities of Bremen and Bremerhaven, which gave visitors a chance to experience these two unique German cities. We experienced everything from their science and immigration museums to the Mercedes-Benz factory, and also witness first-hand the innovative (and extremely large) wind turbine production used for offshore energy, and learned about how Bremen is a leading European city in space travel.

“GTM was a fantastic opportunity to meet suppliers from across Germany,” says Gail Guthlein, product manager, Gate1 Travel, in Pennsylvania. “From large hotel chains, to regional bus companies and small wine tasting rooms, there was a diverse representation from around the country. Regional tourist boards were also readily available to answer questions and discuss itinerary enhancements. Our host city, Bremen, welcomed the GTM attendees with open arms and planned a well-organized and informative tradeshow and event program for delegates from around the world.”

Before GTM kicked off on May 11, delegates were given the chance to choose a pre-convention tour to experience different German cities and towns. From cosmopolitan Berlin to the holy city of Cologne, each tour presented a diverse aspect on the country and its culture and history.

View of the Rhine River from the hotel in Bonn.
The River Rhine in Bonn, Germany.

Recommend toured the cities of Bonn, Cologne, Dusseldorf, Essen and the Ruhr region via the Cities of Culture in Western Germany tour. Here are just a few highlights from the tour if your clients are interested in visiting Germany’s western regions.

– Our guided tour in Bonn, In Beethoven’s Footsteps, showed us where the composer was born and where he had his first musical performance.

– Visiting the imposing Cologne Cathedral and Old Town. Also, taking a tour of the Romanesque Gross St. Martin Church to see the centuries-old foundations of a warehouse built by the Romans and found underground in the church’s crypt.

– Dusseldorf is a modern city with high-end shopping, lively pubs that brew their own beer, and Hofgarten, a lush and vast public garden and park.

– Touring the UNESCO World Heritage site, Zollverein, an industrial coal mine complex remodeled to feature exhibits, guided tours of the mine, a cafe and restaurant. This tour is perfect for history buffs and those who appreciate industrial development in Europe, especial during WWI and WWII. For more information, visit