Germany Remains A Top Tourist Destination For Indians, Says GNTO

In the latest press conference, the German National Tourist Office (GNTO) announced sustainability as its core agenda. Processing for Schengen visa is also set to become easier for Indians
Stunning view of Neuschwanstein Castle in the Bavarian Alps, Germany.
Stunning view of Neuschwanstein Castle in the Bavarian Alps, Germany.Shutterstock

During his early days as the director of India for the German National Tourist Office, Romit Theophilus shared how he used to believe that Germany is all about “infrastructure and buildings.” However, after a few conversations with his colleague, he shared how he realised there was more to Germany than its metropolitan centres.

Bavarian Forest National Park, Germany
Bavarian Forest National Park, GermanyShutterstock

Nature Tourism in Germany

Germany’s natural tourism scene is a tapestry woven with many beautiful landscapes and parks. The Black Forest, a legendary region, has densely wooded expanses and charming cuckoo clock heritage. The Bavarian Forest National Park offers serene paths that are perfect for exploration. Saxon Switzerland National Park has a surreal realm of sandstone formations reminiscent of an artist’s dreamscape. The Bavarian Alps, crowned by the Zugspitze, Germany’s loftiest peak, offer a playground for mountain enthusiasts, while Berchtesgaden National Park’s emerald lakes mirror the rugged grandeur.

The Growing Focus on Sustainability

The official press conference that was conducted by the German National Tourist Office (GNTO) and German Embassy in India discussed the same sentiment around nature tourism that Theophilus mentioned in his anecdote. The conference took place at the German Embassy in New Delhi and was attended by various media personnel from India.

Theophilus added, “Sustainability is a key focus of Germany’s tourism industry, and we’re confident that the country’s natural beauty, innovative eco-tourism practices, and rich cultural heritage will resonate with Indian travellers seeking responsible travel options. We believe the conference inspires media to promote Germany as an ideal travel destination.”

The shift toward sustainable travel is accelerating and well-received by Indians. The shift in values of international travellers clearly shows how much travel behaviour has changed since the outbreak of the pandemic and has now consolidated toward more sustainability.

All About GNTO Campaign 2023

Town of Bamberg is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Germany
Town of Bamberg is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in GermanyShutterstock

To increase visitor numbers, the GNTO offers a comprehensive tourism package with three different campaign themes for 2023.

The campaign “51 UNESCO World Heritage Sites” aims to contrast world heritage and the diversity of products in urban and rural areas. Many offers around World Heritage Sites are accessible in a climate-friendly way by public transport. The campaign ensures visitors find the offerings so attractive that they plan a longer stay, supporting a lower CO2 footprint.

The GNTO is also promoting two “green-focused” campaigns that have been successful in 2022 and the UNESCO campaign. These campaigns will be expanded in 2023 with fresh travel ideas and inspiration.

The “FEEL.GOOD” sustainability campaign promotes climate and environmentally-friendly offers in a very focused way. Potential international travellers can discover Germany’s National landscapes and sustainable holiday experiences in rural regions. These include 16 national parks, 16 biosphere reserves and more than 100 nature parks.

“Embrace German Nature” is a campaign that focusses on unique natural landscapes in Germany, and how resource-friendly they can be travelled to.

Schengen Visa for Indians

The processing time for Schengen visa for travelling to Germany has been brought down to eight weeks, and efforts are on to reduce it further, Georg Enzweiler, Deputy Head of Mission at the German Embassy, said on Wednesday.

“Visa is an important issue. We are striving to get better with application times. The thing is, we would like to change it from today to tomorrow, but bureaucracy takes its toll. We are working on that through various means. We have increased our staff substantially in Mumbai, and I think the waiting time has substantially gone down,” he added.

A Schengen visa is a short-stay (up to 90 days) visa that allows a person to travel to any member of the 27-country Schengen Area of Europe for tourism or business purposes. The delays in visa processing have been a dampener for Europe travel.

The German Embassy had April issued an advisory saying, “Due to a sharp increase in demand for Schengen visas, longer waiting times for appointments and longer visa processing times apply. If you are planning to travel to Germany in the near future, please make an appointment with our external service provider VFS in time. Therefore, please account for delays in the visa processing time. If your travel date is imminent or lies within two weeks of application date, please check if you can postpone your trip. In general, neither the German mission nor the service provider can expedite the process. Requests for preferential treatment cannot be honoured,” the advisory added.

Germany Remains A Top Destination For Indian Travellers

According to new data from the German National Tourist Board, Indian tourists spent more than 6.23 lakh nights in Germany in 2022, a 209 per cent increase compared to the previous year, but the number was still 65 per cent of the pre-pandemic levels.

Germany saw a 209 per cent increase in overnight stays by Indians in 2022 compared to the previous year, according to new data from the German National Tourist Board.

In 2022, Indians spent a total of 623,363 nights in Germany. The record level of 2019, with 961,656, has not yet been reached. “However, we have already reached 65 per cent of the level of 2019, leaving room for continuous growth as Indians return to travelling. There is huge demand among Indians for international travel,” said Romit Theophilus.

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