Travel: Berlin and Germany
German tourism officials are on a mission to showcase what the country, and the capital city in particular, has to offer travellers.
And it seems there is a lot on the menu, not least Berlin’s growing reputation as a culinary delight.
The city is enjoying a renaissance as a tourist destination, boasting more holidaymakers than business travellers and its representatives are making the most of its culture, lifestyle and its growth as a tech-industry centre.
Christian Tanzler, head of media relations for visitBerlin, breezed into Glasgow’s Malmaison Hotel to offer a taste of what is on offer, referencing better known locations for comparison.
“The Tiergarten, for instance, is Berlin’s Central Park,” he said.
The campaign anticipates some big events taking place over the next two to three years. This year is Culinary Germany. Next year will mark 100 years of Bauhaus, and 2020 will see celebrations for the 250th anniversary of the birth of Beethoven.
Popular perceptions of the German diet consisting of sausages and sauerkraut, Berlin conceals a paradise for fine dining. There are 20 Michelin-starred restaurants in the city.
Mr Tanzler adds: “We also have a lot in common with Glasgow as we are a music city and sporting city. Restaurants and shopping are both very affordable.
“Berliners like to do things a little differently.”
A new national cycling network is being set up and will allow locals and tourists to travel east to west or the other way around without being hampered by other traffic.
“The 1933 sports arena is a mixture of old and new,” adds Mr Tanzler.
“We also have many venues from the roaring twenties, what we like to call Babylon Berlin which was very wild, very burlesque.”
The German National Tourist Office is hoping to persuade Scots to take in more of the country’s attractions via direct flights from Edinburgh and Glasgow to Berlin, Frankfurt and Munich.
Beatrix Haun, director of the GNTO UK and Ireland said: “Almost nothing else says more about a country and its people than the national cuisine and associated traditions. German food is diverse, cosmopolitan and offers something for all tastes.
According to German National Tourist Office figures for 2014, domestic and international visitor spending combined amounted to €278.3 billion per annum with 60% of travellers on holiday trips, 24% on business and 16% visiting friends and family.
GNTO sales manager Charles Wilson said: “Of the 5.6 million overnight stays, Scotland’s contribution is 8% and UK visitor numbers are second only to US visitors who travel to Germany.”
“Our goal is to increase trips by 2.25% and we are targeting demographic groups ABC1.”