Germany: Questions and Answers

Udo Grebe discusses Germany's 1998 promotional themes and agent programs with Reed Travel Features' Jim Glab.

TW: What themes or special events will you be promoting in 1998?

Grebe: Two of our biggest events are not until the year 2000, but we will be promoting them in 1998. One is the World Exposition in Hannover, called Expo Hannover 2000; and then the same year, we have the performances of the Oberammergau Passion Play. But in cooperation with our head office, we have some specific marketing themes for 1998. One of them is called On the Trail of Knights and Princes, and in conjunction with this we have a booklet titled Castles, Royal Palaces and Stately Homes in Germany, which is a guide to a great many of these places so tourists can find them easily.

TW: Are there any special events tied to anniversaries in 1998?

Grebe: Yes. It is the 50th anniversary of the Berlin Airlift, and there will be some special programs in Berlin and Frankfurt in connection with this. It's also the 750th anniversary of the famous gothic cathedral in Cologne, and there will be a whole series of events in that city. The state of Brandenburg will be marking the 900th anniversary of the Cistercian order of monks. And on Feb. 10 we'll be celebrating 200 years of Bertolt Brecht with exhibitions in Augsburg and in Berlin. It's also the 900th anniversary of Hildegard of Bingen, who is well known for her music and her spiritual writings.

TW: What kind of agency programs will the tourist office sponsor in 1998?

Grebe: We'll have Destination Germany seminars in the U.S., with two in Washington, D.C., in February and one in San Francisco. We're inviting 30 to 35 suppliers, including airlines and local tourist offices from Germany. We also have our annual Germany Travel Mart, which is by invitation only. It will be held in Dresden from April 26 to 29 with all the important German suppliers. From the U.S. we'll probably have about 50 agents and operators. Then we'll host a series of Germany Travel Marts in the U.S., five on the East Coast and five to seven on the West Coast, in September. We haven't yet set an exact schedule.

And we have our Germany Destination Specialist program, where we invite travel agents to Germany on a study tour that includes destination seminars, and we give them a certificate. We'll have four or five of these tours, each with about 10 agents, covering different parts of Germany. We also plan to host a series of travel agent workshops in the U.S. with representatives from Berlin, Hamburg and the Hannover Expo sometime late in 1998, focusing on northern Germany.

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