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Germany boosts Gulf travel budget with Russia savings

Reichstag building, Germany during daytime Unsplash
The Reichstag, Berlin: Germany enjoyed an 82 percent increase in overnight stays by GCC nationals last year

The German National Tourist Board (GNTB) increased its marketing budget this year in the Gulf by 10 percent, after making savings by shutting down several of its international offices, including Russia.

“We actually got a 10 percent budget increase because, as you can see, we unfortunately had to close our Russian office,” Yamina Sofo, director of sales and marketing for the GCC, at the German National Tourist Office (GNTO), an affiliate of the GNTB, told AGBI this week at the Arabian Travel Market in Dubai.

“Our Singapore office is also closed currently due to Covid. We also had to close our Australia office and office in Argentina… So, there’s some reshuffling,” she added.

Sofo plans to use the extra budget to expand their marketing, press and social media activities, while she is also planning an upcoming regional roadshow for German travel companies.

“We’re planning a big road show in October from Doha to Kuwait City, Riyadh, Jeddah and Abu Dhabi,” Sofo said. “Our partners from Germany will come and we invite the trade and the media in these countries.”

The European country has been a popular destination for GCC nationals, resulting in 518,516 overnight stays in Germany during 2021, an 82.3 percent year-on-year increase. Through December, during the outbreak of the Omicron COVID variant, Germany recorded over 54,493 overnight stays from GCC nationals, an increase of 335 percent year-on-year.

Cost of living in several countries has become another issue of concern in recent weeks, and the Gulf region has been no different. However, Sofo was hopeful this would not put visitors off coming to Germany.

“We haven’t seen an impact so far, but we are not sure what will happen in the next weeks or months, we are trying to do our best to keep it as stable as possible,” she said.

“We don’t want to end up as expensive as Switzerland, we still want to be Germany – affordable but of the highest quality.”