Germany's Medieval Heartland

Proud cathedrals and small country churches, defiant castles and peaceful monasteries – they all bear witness to the deep-rooted fear of God, yet also to the most mysterious eras in history: the med …

Passion Play 2010: Tickets for Sale

A play of life and death, promised in a moment of mortal threat - so began the history of the Oberammergau Passion Play in 1633. In the middle of the Thirty Years War, after months of suffering and death …

High Speed Mobility with ICE Trains

Germany certainly has not become smaller but distances between cities are shrinking fast – at least if you take the train. Due to extensive investments in railroads and tracks, new ICEs connect German Cities with a travel speed of up to 160 mph. With the German Rail Pass, the ICE offers high speed mobility at a very competitive price

Historic Lodging

Muenster. Tipped off by a European Union investment scheme, 14 castles, monasteries and manor houses in North Rhine Westphalia have started to run Bed & Breakfast services – providing both, remarkable historical authenticity and a high grade accommodation.
Hotel-turned-castles include, amongst others, Schloss Diersfordt (built 1432), 14th century country house Hertefeld or Schloss Ossenberg with its unique Rococo style architecture. Vacancies can be checked by online booking requests

foto: love parade



Remember the good old days, when the Euro went through the clouds and a US-Dollar just bought 60somthing Euro-Cents? The AAA then cited a study by Global Insight, forecasting increases of up to 4.4 per cent for travel to Germany. "Foreign travel is still the ideal trip for many Americans, and summer is the prime reason to go", said Joyce Moynihan, Regional Travel Manager for AAA.

What was ways beyond our's and Mr. Moynihan's perception then is the fact, that currency exchange rates and inflation would turn out to be rather neglectible issues only a couple of months later: Ridden by a world financial crises and a grim economic outlook at home, travel patterns all over the world have shifted, and travel agents get their share of a two-digit-downturn in intercontinental travel as much as operators and destinations.

While European destinations have been hit hardest – according to a survey by USTOA, in 2008 the number of bookings dropped up to 15 per cent – Germany has experienced a decline of only 4.6 per cent in terms of overnight stays.

Though these figures clearly indicate a sharp decline for outbound travel to Germany, they also prove something else: Even with a global economic crisis unfolding, the number of overnight stays is still significantly higher than it has been in 2005 when the German National Tourist Board GNTB proudly announced 4.4 million visitors from the U.S.A.

This boils down to a question, that deserves a lot more attention than it is getting today: Were outlooks in 2005 really as bad as we feel they are today? Of course, they were not. Instead, striking optimism prevailed – driven by the assumption, that travel activity will grow in future just because it has done so in the past. Though this conclusion is everything but convincing, the patterns we are following today are the same – just leading into opposite directions.

So may be we should pause a bit and give a second thought to what leisure travel is all about: it is perceptions, expectations and imagination that matter, not statistics. Travel agents core business is to make wishes come true where ever their clients imagine they might be fullfilled.

What Germany contributes to make travel dreams come true this and the next year is actually been shown on the ITB 2009 International Travel Exposition taking place in Berlin from March 11th to March 15th.

For those who can't attend one of the world's leading travel fairs, destination-germany's free SPECIAL ITB 2009 REPORT might be the right choice.

With best regards

Frank Sträter