Frankfurt: Culture, heritage, and F&B make it much more than a layover

Annette Biener, Head of Marketing for Frankfurt and the Region listed out some of the key USPs of the city – which has long harboured the reputation of being the powerhouse of finance and education in Europe and world over. She talked about city’s cultural and leisure offerings, its steady strides towards adding more products to its repertoire and what made it a destination worthy of being much more than just a layover to other cities in the region.

Dr. Annette Biener

How has been the program so far?

Our tourist board attended outbound traveller show. We had been in five cities, promoting Frankfurt and greater area and Rhine. We started in Mumbai, and then Kolkata, Chennai – Chennai has a direct flight connection to Frankfurt with Lufthansa. It is very important to have direct flight connection to cities in India. There are other connections as well; direct flight connections to Frankfurt, and hopefully we get much more.

Is this your first trip to India?

No. I have been here many a times. I come here every year.

So, how has been the response in this trip so far?

It has been great. There is a very big demand for Germany. Many travel agents from India need help from DMCs for being able to handle the trip. There is a bigger demand comparing to former years.

AI is looking at some more connections to Europe in the coming months and years, so Frankfurt may also be one of the beneficiaries there. Yes, and we work on it to see that there is an increase in numbers.

Germany as a tourism board has a substantial presence in India. They conduct regular roadshows.  What prompted you to make this unilateral foray into the Indian market?

India is a future market for Germany, for its outbound business.  Therefore, the German National Tourist Office, probably, will increase the presence, and we are also working with the GNTO. As you can see, the figures for Frankfurt for overnight stays is very dynamic, up by roughly 17%. It is nearly 90,000 overnight stays.

You do not count apartment stays, Airbnb and the likes?

No, we do not. And, day-trippers are also not included. It is just the overnight stays. It might be much more. It is an interesting destination for cruising and shopping, trade fairs. These are some reasons why Indians come to Frankfurt.

A look at the profile of the city and the greater area reveals that there is a fascinating number of universities and post-graduate colleges as well. So, do you think that it could be one area that you could look into? The educational outbound? It is quite a lucrative market.

That is true. Educational trips, especially good institutes are in abundance. We are the headquarters of good educational institutes in the region. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe was a very famous German poet, and his birthplace is in Frankfurt. You can visit it, and everything is named after Goethe and you can visit it. The Goethe university is well-known. Of course, we hope to have a lot more Indian students come to Frankfurt for studying, or for language school. It is a good place; it is not a very expensive place to be in Germany. Prices are reasonable. Food and nightlife is fun. There is plenty to see and discover for people of every age and walks of life.

What is your primarily focus, MICE or the leisure segment from India?

MICE and leisure segments, both, are welcome. Of course, MICE travellers travel in groups, as big as hundreds, so their numbers are larger in the city. But all we want is happy travellers. It does not matter if they are MICE travellers, or leisure travellers. We also look MICE travellers staying longer during the weekends, because hotels offer lower rates over the weekends. So, if there are leisure groups, it might be good to come during that part of the week.

The first image that comes to mind when one mentions Frankfurt is a bustling financial city in the region, and also an educational hub. But a lesser known aspect, at least for the Indian outbound, is that there are numerous festivals that are organised in the city. It is an incredible add-on for a destination. Could you talk to us about its importance in further diversifying the tourism bouquet of the city.

It does. Certainly. There are events and festivals every month. It adds to the lifestyle quotient, and shopping possibilities. There are culinary events like the Apple Wine Festival. We have got the biggest cultural festival which goes on for three days. Then there is the Christmas market in December. It is very cosy and not so cold, because it is a wine growing and hot springs area. So, festivals, shopping at reasonable prices and culture. There are plenty of museums, too.

Of course, on the financial side, you are right, we are the powerhouse of money. The ECB (The European Central Bank) is headquartered at Frankfurt. There is a new skyscraper in the east part of the city, and it is also something to discover. There are several ways of doing it. City tours for example. Cruising and bike tours. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *