Number of Gulf tourists to Germany up 40 percent


RIYADH – Number of tourists from Gulf Cooperation Council countries, traveling to Germany, has increased 40%, making GCC Germany’s second largest tourism partner.

The Arab News reports that Antje Roeding, director of the Dubai-based German National Tourist Office (GNTO) said: “Germany has also drawn up a comprehensive tourism plan under which it will focus on health and wellness tourism in 2011.”

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“Summer is the most important travel period to Germany”, with about 34 percent of foreign overnight stays being generated in the summer months, said Roeding, while referring to a large number of Saudi and Gulf tourists visiting Germany between May and September every year. According to the German National Tourist Board (GNTB), the number of tourists to Germany from GCC increased by an impressive 66 percent in July 2010, a record growth; compared to the same month of 2009, said Roeding.

Also, between Jan. and July 2010, 40.2 percent more Gulf travellers visited Germany, said the GNTO chief. “With 620,510 overnight stays, this makes the Gulf region one of the strongest overseas source markets for Germany, second only to the United States”, added the GNTO chief. She said that the sharp growth in tourism traffic from the Gulf in July contributed significantly to making the summer season of 2010 very successful.

Expressing her appreciation for impressive increase in the number of GCC tourists, Roeding pointed out that Germany was the second most visited country in Europe by travelers from the Gulf. She said that GNTO had been promoting Germany intensively in the Gulf region over the past years, launching various initiatives to boost travel and tourism. The highly successful workshops taking place in various GCC countries in the recent past showcased Germany’s attractions and tourist offerings, she added.

Asked about highlights of 2011 tourism plan, she said that Germany would focus on health tourism. Many German hospitals have specific offers for Arab guests, such as Arabic language support for patients and accompanying relatives, she added. German tourism agencies, on the other hand, have lined up several events during 2011. The 125th anniversary of German automobile industry, to be celebrated next year, will be an interesting event.