The German National Tourist Board (GNTB) Canada hosted its first in-person meeting since 2019 last night (Thursday, November 11) at The Arcadian Loft in downtown Toronto, celebrating its Christmas in Germany event with a small group of travel industry partners.
Several positive developments were shared about Germany's latest facts and figures and campaigns, including its iconic Christmas markets (known as Weihnachtsmarkt in German).
“Business is up, and demand is rising,” shared Anja Brokjans, director of the GNTO Canada. “We are seeing some real pent-up demand from Canadians wanting to come to Germany, and Germany is looking forward to welcoming Canadians.”
According to GNTB, despite the Covid-19 pandemic, Germany remained a leading European destination for cultural and urban tourism last year.
Airlift is increasing
Brokjans says that although the number of direct flights to Germany has not yet reached its pre-pandemic levels, there is a light at the end of the tunnel.
With Air Canada and Lufthansa offering direct flights to Frankfurt and Munich, capacity is beginning to increase.
Toronto - Frankfurt
(until January 8, 2022)
For entry to Germany by air, proof of testing, proof of recovery from Covid-19, or proof of vaccination is currently required by Canadians.
Christmas Sparkle campaign launched
In the light of COVID-19, the question of whether the popular and traditional Christmas markets would happen had been back and forth throughout the year.
Following a press release from the GNTB earlier in the day about its Christmas campaign, Brokjans reiterated to the trade audience that the Christmas markets are "on again" and ready to bring that familiar, magical Christmas sparkle back to German cities this season.
Some of the popular markets to experience are located in Altötting, Bremen, and Leipzig with information on many others here.
Most markets open at the end of November, just before the first Sunday of Advent, and usually run until Christmas Day.
The unique traditions of the holiday season, winter outdoor activities, and various Germany’s Christmas markets are all featured in the Christmas sparkle campaign that showcases the typical traditions and customs still alive and offers specific suggestions that will boost the appetite for cultural travel in Germany.
To ensure that this holiday season is as enjoyable as it is safe and relaxing, GNTB reports that all markets and travel ideas promoted by this campaign follow the regulations in effect for the most recent pandemic situation.
Christmas traditions a plus for Germany
In the highly competitive European market, the GNTB reports that Christmas traditions provide an additional boost to Germany’s tourism in the lead-up to the holiday season.
According to tourism market research firm, IPK International, 10.9 per cent of all European outbound travel over the course of 2019 was to Germany, but this increased to 15 per cent in November and December.
More to celebrate
Ricarda Linder, GNTB's regional manager for the Americas, explained to Toronto’s trade that 2021 is a year of special significance as it marks 1700 years of Jewish life in Germany, which is commemorated with numerous special events through July 2022.
After being postponed in 2020 due to COVID-19, Oberammergau, Bavaria, will be the site of the forty-second Passion Play in 2022.
The Biblical Theater Performance in Oberammergau on the northern edge of the Alps is one of Germany's intangible cultural heritage sites and is considered the world's most famous Passion Play.
Every ten years the town is transformed into a theater stage and is ready more than ever to captivate its visitors.
“I am confident that travel and tourism is on its way back”, said Linder. “In Germany, we have missed the fruitful and fun exchanges with our Canadian guests and look forward to welcoming them back in the months to come.”