Germany will once again have a big presence at IMEX in Frankfurt -- with over 200 exhibitors featured and multiple education sessions -- but the real story here is the large and ever growing space that Germany populates within the global meetings market.
The German National Tourist Board (GNTB) and German Convention Bureau (GCB) recently announced that Germany is the #1 destination for European business travel with a total of 12.3 million professional trips in 2014 (Source: GNTB/IPK International and World Travel Monitor (WTM)). Conference and convention travel makes up 27% of this number. Germany is also the #2 global destination for association meetings only behind the US (Source: ICCA).
Germany is also reporting a new record high in international overnight stays of 75.6 million with visitors from the US, Arab Gulf States and China leading the way from overseas markets (Source: German Federal Statistical Office). Looking ahead, data and models compiled by the UNWTO, the World Travel & Tourism Council, and the German Federal Statistical Office show that Germany could reach more than 121 million international overnight stays by the year 2030.
In sync with this, a 4.6 percent rise in total arrivals for 2014 places Germany ahead of comparable growth rates for Europe, which the UNWTO puts at 3.9 percent. It also places German arrival growth closely in step with global growth rates of 4.7 percent last year.
So what’s behind the numbers and what makes Germany so popular for doing business?
Matthias Schultze, Managing Director of the GCB, offers these reasons: “We feel there are several factors. Germany provides excellent infrastructure, good value for money, high travel accessibility, and a wide variety of compelling cities and regions with rich cultures. Meeting organizers and delegates can also leverage the innovative industry expertise that these cities and regions have in urban design, technology, pharma & biotech, mobility & automotive, green technology, finance, aerospace and more.”
Frankfurt, the host city for IMEX, is just one example of German meetings excellence in action. When meeting in the city, delegates may do a site visit at the House of Logistics and Mobility (HOLM), a central location for knowledge transfer between leading innovators, research institutions and companies in the field of logistics. They could attend an event at the 200 yr. old Städel art museum. They might meet at the sustainable Kap Europa Conference Center and, after dinner, take a stroll by the ancient Main river or see historic half-timber buildings in the Romer square. Frankfurt as a meetings destination is also within easy reach of the international Frankfurt airport and has an extensive train and public transportation network for ease of travel within the city and across Germany.