Rothenburg-ob-der-Tauber.Photo courtesy of Germany Travel. ©BAYERN TOURISMUS Marketing GmbH.

Germany As A Travel Destination?

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Stone bridge over the Danube River at Regensburg.Photo courtesy of Germany Travel. ©BAYERN TOURISMUS Marketing GmbH.
Stone bridge over the Danube River at Regensburg.
Photo courtesy of Germany Travel. ©BAYERN TOURISMUS Marketing GmbH.

Header-image-StephenBy Robert K Stephen

(TORONTO, ON) – There are many out there that think Germany is an industrial wasteland, devoid of much natural beauty. After recently spending some two weeks in Bavaria, I beg to differ.

I recently attended a German National Tourist Office/Lufthansa press conference at Malaparte Restaurant, on the 6th floor of the Bell TIFF Lightbox Theatre in downtown Toronto.

For foodies, the press dinner consisted of kale and baby gem Caesar salad with white anchovy, jamón, poached quail egg, crispy sunchoke, lemon and manchego cheese, espresso and cocoa-crusted beef tenderloin with caper peperonata, mustard spätzle, sauerkraut, roasted challot and chambord jus, and finished off with a pumpkin cake with maple cream cheese frosting, candied pecans, and pickled melons.

The Bavarian Alps.Photo courtesy of Germany Travel. ©BAYERN TOURISMUS Marketing GmbH.
The Bavarian Alps.
Photo courtesy of Germany Travel. ©BAYERN TOURISMUS Marketing GmbH.

Strangely, no German beers were available, and only one German sparkler was on site, which was used in making a welcome cocktail.

The wines served were from Niagara. Puzzling considering the wine powerhouse that Germany is.

While this sumptuous dinner was served, the press conference started under the motto Germany, The Travel Destination.

Some interesting statistics were presented.

In 2015 Germany had 74.2 million overnight stays, up 5.6% from 2014. Three-quarters of these visits were from residents of the European Union.

From January to November there some 619,187 Canadian visitors to Germany. The Germans predict a 2% increase in Canadian visitors to Germany in 2016. However, Asia is the fastest growing tourist market for Germany.

The tourist campaign for 2016 is Holidays in the Heart of Nature. Perhaps a wise choice, considering the over industrialized misconception that exists about Germany and that 37% of holiday makers consider scenery as an important factor on their vacation.

Germany has 16 national parks and over 1/3 of Germany is covered by forest. There are 200,000km of walking trails and 500 of the trails are considered as premium.

Germany has over 350 islands, many with striking scenery. There are also so 150 scenic routes including culinary (2), wine (5), asparagus (2), beer, and castles, and even a Luther route. Interesting, indeed, as we are 499 years from the Reformation.

Speaking of the Reformation, the German tourist emphasis is also on Luther, with the availability of the Luther scenic route consisting of cities, towns, and monasteries. A few minutes were also spent on the Dresden Kreuzchar, an 800 year-old boy’s choir that will be presenting concerts throughout Germany this year.

The Germans offered a persuasive argument to visit Germany, particularly for nature lovers, which I can vouch for as far as Bavaria goes.

Need help in planning your trip to Germany. Check out Germany Travel where you can enter your preferences as to degrees of terrain, serenity, relaxation, seclusion, and land vs water, and itinerary suggestions will be provided.

What a shame there was no Riesling or Spätzburgunder in the wine glasses. Wine tourism would be a big draw.