• Hassan Soukar

German Cities Including Berlin Ready To Welcome GCC Visitors in 2021

Updated: May 21

The German National Tourist Board (GNTB) is participating at Arabian Travel Market (ATM) this week, which is taking place at the Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC), the first international travel trade event to take place in person since the outbreak.


German Cities Including Berlin Ready To Welcome GCC Visitors in 2021
( Left to Right) - Burkhard Kieker, CEO, visitBerlin, Yamina Sofo, Director Sales & Marketing, German National Tourist Office Gulf Countries (GNTO), Ralf Ostendorf, Director Market Management and Market & Media Relations Manager Asia, Australia & Middle East, visitBerlin

The GNTB wanted to raise awareness of what Germany and, in particular Berlin, has to offer city, nature and culture enthusiasts living in the GCC countries by showcasing the exciting facets and flair of Germany such as customs, crafts, local food and drink, culture and architecture, and the varied countryside and nature on the doorstep of many German cities.


The German capital Berlin is also looking forward to welcoming visitors from across the GCC to discover a reinvented city with something new to discover on every corner, space for free spirits and a fascinating mix of heritage and innovation.


Despite a difficult 12-months, this year has realised many landmark projects in the city, such as the opening of the reconstructed city palace, the prestigious Humboldt Forum, and the reopening of Berlin’s leading art addresses, the Neue Nationalgalerie at the Kulturforum, underlining the intriguing nature of this ever-changing city.


The U5 metro line also has a new section connecting Berlin's many cultural attractions. The new international Berlin airport (BER) is also now open, a positive signal for improved global connections at a difficult time for the tourism and congress industry.


Under the Berlin Health Excellence Initiative, launched by visitBerlin in early 2020, the city will also open its doors to medical tourists from the Middle East who visit Berlin in search of ‘Made in Berlin’ medical expertise and cutting-edge medical services that the city is renowned for.


With a recent YouGov survey revealing that nearly half of United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Saudi Arabia residents are planning to make an international trip in 2021, the GNTB is eager to increase the GCC’s share of 89.9 million overnight stays by foreign visitors it welcomed in 2019.


Speaking at the press conference at Arabian Travel Market in Dubai, said Yamina Sofo, Director Sales & Marketing, German National Tourist Office Gulf Countries (GNTO), “With the success of the national vaccination programmes in the GCC countries, particularly in the UAE where more than 11.5 million doses have been administered so far (over 70% of the UAE population have received vaccines and 40% are fully vaccinated), we remain optimistic that the pre-crisis level of incoming travel from the UAE to Germany can be regained by end of 2022.

“It gives us immense pleasure to be here, at ATM, to showcase our unique German culture to not only GCC travellers but outbound tourists across the Middle East. We hope to encourage demand for city and nature holidays coupled with sustainable tourism, which draws attention to the many different ways of discovering Destination Germany with its wide range of traditions and attractions,” Sofo added.


Germany is extremely popular with GCC visitors. It recorded 1.6 million overnight stays from the Gulf region in 2019 and reached 3.6 million overnight stays by 2030. Germany has a diverse tourism offering centred around its unique culture, craftsmanship, nature, and culinary experiences. German character is encapsulated in many cities, depicting half-timbered architecture one moment to contemporary street art the next, which complements its rich and varied traditions and customs, which in many cases were introduced centuries ago.


Nothing speaks louder about its culture than Germany’s exceptional food and drinks that are regional yet still cosmopolitan. Gulf visitors to Germany often admire sustainability. The countryside's natural beauty can be found on the doorstep of many German cities, offering fresh air, open spaces, and spectacular views.


Commenting on Berlin’s readiness for the return of inbound tourism, Burkhard Kieker, CEO, visitBerlin, said: “Like no other city, Berlin is poised for yet another new start in 2021 – off into the future – when we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic. Whatever the changes to our city, Berlin always retains an irresistible fascination and a multitude of possibilities – from big-city thrills to unwinding, from adventures to relaxation, and from inspiring culinary adventures to traditional food and drink.

“As a vibrant cosmopolitan city, you can explore the living history, internationally renowned museums, unique galleries, UNESCO sites and major historical buildings. Still, there is also space for waterside activities and beautiful countryside to discover around the city,” added Ralf Ostendorf, Director Market Management and Market & Media Relations Manager Asia, Australia, Middle East, visitBerlin.


ATM 2021 in-person event continues on 18th & 19th May at DWTC. It plays an integral role in Arabian Travel Week, which features exhibitions, conferences, breakfast briefings, awards, product launches and networking events. A virtual version of ATM will run a week later to complement and reach a wider audience than ever before.



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