World Cup host Germany is preparing to kick off an aggressive marketing campaign during the Middle East’s premier travel and tourism exhibition, Arabian Travel Market 2006. Aimed at attracting thousands of Gulf soccer fans desperate to cheer on their favourites in the tournament, the campaign will make the most of the participation of the region’s latest qualifier for the event.
The German National Tourist Board’s (GNTB) manager for GCC States, Heike Murad, said, “Saudi Arabia’s presence in the FIFA World Cup will have a big impact on Gulf travellers. That’s why Arabian Travel Market is the ideal event for us to get the campaign off to a flying start.
“Details are still being finalised but we will include incentives to encourage soccer fans to make the trip to Germany.”
FIFA soccer fever will be just part of a strong German presence at Arabian Travel Market 2006, which will be held at the Dubai World Trade Centre from May 2-5. The GNTB is among 34 official tourism bodies taking part in the annual exhibition, which is celebrating its 13th anniversary.
Other high profile German promotions planned for the ATM are the ‘Shopping In Germany’ festival and the ‘Mozart Year’ - a 12 month celebration of the renowned maestro’s 250th birth anniversary.
“Our aim is to create awareness among GCC travel agents, especially about Germany’s cultural wonders and heritage,” said Murad.
The GNTB believes the Middle East is crucial to the development of Germany’s inbound tourism industry with overnight stays by GCC travellers increasing faster than from any other region.
“The growth in overnight stays from the GCC to Germany is the highest from anywhere in the world - 648,997 visitors in 2005, a 26.7% increase over 2004 as against the world average of 6.4%,” explained Murad.
“The average length of stay of visitors from the GCC is 22 days as compared to 7.5 days for European travellers, demonstrating the value of the Gulf market to the German tourism sector.
“The average GCC traveller spends 2,350 Euros (US$2,793) per person, 403% higher than their European counterparts who spend an average of 583 Euros
(US$692) per person, an indication of the high spending capacity of Arabs.”
Reed Travel Exhibitions (RTE), which organises Arabian Travel Market, says this year’s event will be the most diverse in the event’s history with more exhibitors, more destinations and more products on show.
“Not only is this one event which will promote unlimited destinations, but it will also be a shop window to a hugely diverse product range,” said Chris Chackal, Group Exhibition Director - Overseas Events, RTE.
“New-to-market products at ATM will include private hire of one of the world’s most luxurious yachts to horse riding on the Argentine pampas. The new business opportunities for Middle East travel professionals are obvious from this extremely wide product and exhibitor portfolio.”