Demonetisation has led to a sharp fall in travel for domestic tourists and for those flying out to Asian destinations. But for outbound tourists from Bengal jetting away to longhaul European destinations like Germany, the currency crisis has not made any impact. Germany has been the cynosure for Bengal outbound tourists owing its affordable hospitality, natural landscape, convenient travel and culinary delights.
And who can forget Saxony-the birthplace of world-renowned branded cars like Audi and Volkswagen! Romit Theophilus, director of marketing and sales office India, German National Tourist Office, explained, Among the top global big-spending tourists, Indians occupy the fourth slot in Germany. They spend as high as 3,500 euros on an average and are categorised as one of the highest spenders in that country. One significant chunk of Indian travellers to Germany is on incentive tours.
We have started off our India Facebook page, germanytourism in February, this year. Theophilus was speaking at a marketing campaign titled, Germany-Holidays in the heart of nature hosted in Kolkata recently. Airberlin, the second largest airline in Germany with hubs in Berlin and Dusseldorf has entered a code share agreement with Etihaad Airways that flies out to 11 destinations in Germany from Abu Dhabi. Flyers from Bengal have to make a convenient stopover in Abu Dhabi to get into Germany. Theophilus said, Germany is accessible to one and all and we have a special web page dedicated to bariatric travel.
Mumbai and New Delhi have the highest number of Indian outbound tourists visiting Germany. Around 15 per cent of those touring the country are from Bengal and the figure is likely to go up in the coming period. Germany is replete with culturally significant sights. There is the city of Cologne that has the Cologne Cathedral and Cologne Chocolate Museum.
Other major attractions are German Rhine Line comprising the popular day cruises on the river Rhine with spellbinding views of romantic wine hamlets and castles and the legendary Loreley Rock. Besides, Baden has the attraction of having a car-free city centre done up with parks and gardens. There are around 1,600 Indian restaurants in Germany.
Theophilus added, Most Bengal tourists are family, leisure and independent travellers. Nearly 5,50,000 Indian visitors touched down in Germany last year and we are targeting 6,00,000 this year.