Travel agents who sell lots of Germany trips generally agree that
if your clients are first-time visitors with limited time, start
them off with a trip to southern Germany, more specifically,
Munich. And if they can squeeze it in, sell them a stopover in
Berlin as well.
Margo Koch, executive vice president of Koch Travel Bureau in
New York, names the Bavarian capital city of Munich and the smaller
but well-preserved medieval walled town of Rothenburg as must-sees
Koch notes that in addition to its own attractions and appeal,
Munich serves as a great base of operations for making day trips to
nearby destinations like the mountain resort of
Garmisch-Partenkirchen and the popular Austrian town of
Agents generally cite the welcoming ambience of Munich and the
nearby unbeatable Alpine scenery as the reason for Bavaria's
popularity among American fly/drive tourists.
And they note that U.S. tourists shouldn't worry too much about
language difficulties when they're on the road.
"English has been the second language in Germany since the end
of World War II," says Christine Keen, a Germany specialist at
American Express Travel in New York. "People who are 50 years and
older might not speak it, but it's generally no problem."
Roswitha Sterbal, a veteran Germany expert with Mercator Travel
in New York, notes that because "most American leisure travelers
are interested in history and culture and events," agents should
try to sell a Berlin segment as well, since that city is a hub of
"Keep Berlin separate" in selling Germany, she advises. "Berlin
is not really Germany in the sense that New York City is not
America," but is more of an international urban center with unique
Agents who tend to think of Germany as mainly a business travel
destination should not overlook the potential for selling
commercial clients on the idea of adding a leisure stay as
"We specialize in trade fairs and exhibitions in Germany, and
many times we will sell leisure extensions," says Koch.
"Some business people come back from the shows right away, but
many will take the time, especially if they're traveling with their
spouse, to combine it with a few extra days or a week and do
something else once they're over there."
Koch notes that while most first-timers concentrate on southern
Germany, there are plenty of other worthwhile destinations that
could turn them into repeat customers for the country. She picks
the northern port of Hamburg -- "a lovely city" -- or historic gems
from eastern Germany, like the city of Dresden, where so much
restoration is under way.