Berlin Continues to Lure Tourists during summer

Berlin, the capital city of Germany, remains a great tourist attraction for visitors to the country.

visitBerlin, the official City State of Berlin agency offering tourist services to its international visitors, has recently said that the city has registered around a 10% increase in international guests during April 2012, in spite of the fact that most of the Europe seems to be on downward slide of economies. Around 922,500 guests have visited the city, more than during the comparative prior year period from Germany and abroad.

The Berlin-Brandenburg Statistics Office has reported that around 2.2 million room nights were booked during the month of April 2012, indicating a growth of 8.5% from that in the same period in 2011, with a high percentage of rooms being booked by international tourists.

Around 355,000 visitors from abroad spent around 953,000 nights in Berlin in April 2012, with a 9.7% increase from that in April 2011. The city seems to be a favourite for visitors from Turkey; visitors from the country to Berlin increased by around 61% in April 2012, over April 2011; followed by around 39% growth in visitors from Luxembourg; and 30% growth in visitors from both Estonia, and Gulf countries in Middle East.

Berlin covers an area of 891 square kilometres, making it nine times in size over Paris; and it has around 1,700 more bridges than the Italian destination of Venice. In 2011, the city hosted around 108,500 events, which saw a participation of around 8.26 million people.

In April 2012, the city had around 777 accommodations with 123,849 beds for visitors, ranging from ultra deluxe resorts and hotels to budget accommodations, said visitBerlin in its report.

Air Berlin Announces New Service to Kaliningrad in Russia

Air Berlin, the Germany-based airline company, is currently offering a new route, from Berlin in Germany to Kaliningrad, in Russia.

The airline will be flying the new route three times per week, having commenced the service on June 5, 2012.

Opening the new route, the airline chief executive officer, Hartmut Mehdorn, said, ‘The economic relations between Germany and Russia continue to grow, and this means an increased demand for air travel, especially in the market sector of business travel. No other airline connects these two cities non-stop from Germany. Our new route between Berlin and Kaliningrad fills this gap in the European route network.’

Dr. Till Bunse, director of marketing and public relations for Berlin Brandenburg Airport, said, ‘We are pleased that airberlin will fly non-stop from Berlin to Kaliningrad. For business travellers, the new route is an especially important addition to our Eastern European offerings.

Furthermore, travellers from Russia can transfer in Berlin and continue on airberlin flights in all directions.’

The airline will also be offering a new route from September 15, 2012, between Poland and Lithuania. Currently the Berlin hub is offering flights to and from Dusseldorf, Cologne, Frankfurt and Munich in Germany; as well as to Vienna (Austria), Milan (Italy), Paris (France), and Scandinavia. The new route will connect all of the existing routes to Kaliningrad, in Russia.

Andrey V Zverev, ambassador and trade representative of the Russian Federation in the Federal Republic of Germany, said, ‘The opening of a new route between Berlin and Kaliningrad affirms the expansion of political, economic, scientific and cultural relations between our countries. As an airline, airberlin has already proven itself to be a reliable partner with high service quality. Therefore, we welcome this new route.’

Travel Trends Worldwide Showing Changes during 2012 London Olympics

The Olympic Games 2012 will boost travel to London by 31 percent in 2012, when compared to 2011, with most travellers visiting from the US and Germany, according to recent research carried out by Amadeus IT Group, a US-based company and technology provider for the travel industry.

The research, conducted in collaboration with Forward Data SL, a market research and consulting company, has cited that travel to London is likely to increase considerably during the Games duration, with a 143 percent increase on July 26, 2012, the day before the 2012 Olympic Games commence, compared to the same day in 2011. There will be around an 80 percent increase in US travellers to London during the Games, closely followed by an increase in German travellers, compared to the same period in 2011.

Apart from the US and Germany, most games fans are expected to arrive in London from Brussels, Amsterdam, and Paris, and in far greater numbers than in previous years.

Holger Taubmann, the senior vice president of distribution at Amadeus, said, ‘Increasingly, companies are relying on hard data to make business decisions. This data provides valuable insights to ensure all players in the travel industry are ready and able to maximise the opportunities come Games-time. For instance, it could help airlines make decisions on the benefits of increasing the capacity and frequency on a given route to meet travellers’ demands or consider targeting customers with air-rail combined trip offers.’

The travel data is based on definite air booking data available at present, for the period from July 23 to August 12, 2012. The research aims to translate how the London 2012 Olympics is impacting on travel trends worldwide.

Colditz Castle Offers Glimpse into Nazi PoW Camp

Colditz Castle, a Renaissance period castle in the town of Colditz near Leipzig, in Germany, is drawing a huge number of British visitors.

A onetime Nazi prison camp for prisoners of war (PoW’s) from the allied forces in World War II, the present castle has been recently renovated to operate as a hotel, offering rooms for as little as £20 a night.

Tour operators in the UK are promoting a night’s stay in one of the castle’s 161 bedrooms as the ultimate prison experience. Tourists to the castle get to eat in the castle canteen, visit the castle museum, and experience the inside rooms and turrets through guided tours that also include the numerous escape tunnels and hidden chambers of the historical structure.

The castle was turned into a prison when Nazis came into power in 1933, and used it to incarcerate PoW’s from the Allied Forces, including soldiers from the UK. Despite its formidable security, around 30 prisoners had escaped from Colditz by the time the castle was liberated from Nazi control by US troops in 1945.

The UK-based, War Research Society, is presently offering tours to Colditz Castle for UK citizens, with its next tour set to depart on May 19, 2012. Alex Bulloch, an official from the War Research Society, said in an interview with The Sun newspaper, ‘The accommodation is spartan but the idea is to give people an idea of what it was like to be there as a PoW. Colditz is the trip of a lifetime for anyone interested in this aspect of the war. To stay under the same roof as the Allied officers is incredible.’

Destination Germany

Germany is a country rich in natural beauty. Between the North Sea and Baltic coasts in the north and the peaks of the Alps in the south, lie extremely diverse landscapes, with everything from wide expanses of river and lake land scenery, hilly uplands and densely wooded regions, to agricultural plains and industrial conurbations.

The Zugspitze is the highest mountain in Germany at 2,963 meters. Germany’s longest river is the Rhine, which flows through the country for a total of 865 kilometers. Germany has 14 national parks, 101 nature reserves, and 15 biosphere reserves.

The GNTB has been responsible for marketing Germany in the domestic market since 1999, where its strategic role is to showcase consumer-oriented holiday themes with nationwide appeal.

The GNTB plays an important role in the promotion of Germany as a travel destination on the international market. Its activities include the development of new marketing strategies and concepts based on specific themes, events and attractions, and also bringing together and optimizing the diverse marketing activities of partners in the German travel industry. It also takes an active role in the form of far-ranging sales activities in new growth markets. In this respect, the GNTB relies on its close collaboration with the German travel industry, partners from commerce, and trade associations.

The GNTB’s business goals are to: increase the volume of tourist traffic; boost foreign currency receipts; strengthen Germany’s profile as a business location; and position Germany as a diverse and attractive travel destination.

Today, life in Germany is subject to a great diversity of cultural influences. It can generally be described as modern and cosmopolitan. The people of Germany love nothing more than getting together and celebrating, in traditional style during carnival season, at wine festivals, at the Oktoberfest and other beer festivals, or during music festivals from classical to rock – all helped along by great food and fine wines from the 13 vineyard regions.

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Catch the FIFA women’s World Cup on a German city break

German Travel Centre offer three night city breaks from £399 

FOOTBALL fans should head off to Germany this summer as the country hosts the sixth FIFA Women’s World Cup 2011™ from 26 June to 17 July 2011.

There will be sixteen teams competing at games across the country with the opening ceremony and match, Canada vs. Germany, taking place at Berlin’s Olympic Stadium on 26 June 2011 and the final in Frankfurt on 17 July 2011.

The UK has seen a phenomenal growth female football and the English Football Association has reported that it has now overtaken netball as the most popular female participation sport in the UK. Travel operator, German Travel Centre is therefore gearing up for record numbers heading over to Germany this summer.
One of the biggest matches for UK fans will be England vs. Mexico on 27 June 2011 taking place at Wolfsburg, around 3.5 hours from Berlin by train and most famous for being the home of the Volkswagen Group.

German Travel Centre offer a number of packages to Berlin, Frankfurt and Munich so that fans can take in matches as the team’s progress. Prices start £399 per person for three-nights in Frankfurt for the final of the World Cup, including return flights from the UK and three nights bed and breakfast accommodation.
For information and reservations on short city breaks to Germany, please contact German Travel Centre on 0208 429 2900.

Unusual Accommodation: Renting One of Germany’s Restored Castles

As Europe’s third most visited country, Germany’s major centres certainly aren’t unfamiliar with the sound of rapid tourism. From Berlin’s massive shopping promenades to the historical buildings just hours south in Munich, the country is home to one of Europe’s most developed and friendly tourism industries – one that’s growing while others in Europe battle a drop in overnight stays.

But while most tourists spend their time in Germany’s major centres and historical cities, a growing number are opting for an alternative accommodation option. Home to some of Europe’s largest and most effectively preserved castles, the ultra-niche German castle rental industry is expanding faster than anyone in the tourism sector could have predicted.

The majority of the country’s rental castles are located within one-hundred kilometres of its major cities, particularly those in the country’s central regions. Throughout former East Germany, castle and manor-style accommodation is available at prices that few would expect – a double bedroom inside one of the country’s largest castle hotels is available from as little as €60.

It’s certainly an innovative take on one of the world’s most popular accommodation markets. While hotels within Germany’s major centres – particularly Berlin – command some of the highest rates in the world, those located in the country’s historical buildings are available at backpacker prices. For adventure tourists and history buffs, the castle-style rooms are an attractive alternative to hotels.

Despite growing at a rapid rate, Germany’s castle rental industry is still one that’s catered to largely online. Bookings can be made through a variety of services, many of which offer transportation to and from the country’s major airports. Book ahead, however, as castle hotels located close to major cities and population centres tend to fill up fairly quickly during public holidays and local events.

Blade Runner Berlin: Night-time Sights in Germany’s Best City

There’s no doubt that Berlin is one of Europe’s top cultural destinations. Alongside an immense collection of classical relics, the megacity is home to some of the world’s most interesting and immaculately preserved Cold War reminders. From the small remnants of the wall to the city’s iconic Brandenburg Gate, there’s little about Berlin that isn’t steeped in historical significance.

But there’s another side to Berlin – the Blade Runner, night-time intensity side. Underneath the city’s undeniable charm and beautiful scenery is a beating heart that’s rivalled by few places in Europe, particularly other major cities within Germany. We’ve surveyed Berlin’s best nightspots, finding the best places for a quick (or slow) drink and a pre-sleep midnight meal.

The city’s best bars are located around the Prenzlauer Berg district – a large entertainment and shopping area that becomes packed with locals and tourists alike from ten onwards. Most of the city’s early nightspots are built around the classic German beer bar template, drawing in visitors from across Europe and local workers from the inner city and its surrounding suburbs.

Interested in going clubbing? Berlin has one of Europe’s best club scenes, boasting a selection of late-night party districts that are rivalled by few other global cities. Take a cab to Mitte and browse the selection of nightclubs and late-night bars, most of which stay open until the early morning. A standard evening in Berlin kicks off around midnight, with parties lasting until the early morning.

Uninterested in music, beer, or cocktails? Take to the city’s streets and capture some of the amazing night-time environments. As one of Europe’s architectural centres, Berlin is a stellar city during the day and even more exotic at night. Budding photographers should check out the city’s ageing train network – one of the most eerie and photographable locales in Europe.