Virtual marketplace as an alternative platform in the pipeline
In view of the rapid spread of coronavirus to more and more countries, and taking into account the recommendations of national and international agencies, the crisis management team of the German National Tourist Board (GNTB) today decided to postpone the Germany Travel Mart™ (GTM), originally set to be held in Rostock from 10 to 12 May 2020, until next year. The decision was made in close consultation with the Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania Tourist Board as the host of the GTM.

Petra Hedorfer, Chief Executive Officer of the GNTB, explains: “The GTM is the leading sales event for inbound tourism to Germany, and over the last 46 years has established itself as a highly effective platform for key accounts in the international travel trade and German providers to meet, make contacts and do business. But the safety of the more than 1,000 attendees is our main priority. International delegates from more than 45 countries had already arranged 20,000 appointments and face-to-face consultations. Meeting and talking in person is quite simply in the event’s DNA.”

Harry Glawe, the Minister for Economic Affairs, Labour and Health of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, adds: “The event is hugely important to Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, especially in terms of its international profile as a holiday destination. We have spent months preparing for it in collaboration with all parties involved, so I am very pleased that our federal state will be hosting it next year. It is good news that Rostock and Schwerin remain available as attractive venues for the GTM.”

Tobias Woitendorf, Managing Director of the Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania Tourist Board, says: “The aim of hosting the GTM in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania in 2020 was to improve its international links. We regret the postponement very much, but we fully understand the need to take this step. As hosts of the GTM 2021 we will put all our energies into showcasing Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania as a particularly attractive destination in Germany.”
Alternative virtual marketplace for the GTM 2020

As an alternative to the physical GTM, the GNTB is currently working on a digital marketplace for the invited trade delegates and their prospective business partners in the German travel industry who signed up to attend the workshop.

“We appreciate the importance of face-to-face meetings at sales events such as the GTM,” Ms Hedorfer says. “But as we have in-depth knowledge of designing and delivering digital marketing activities, we will use this infrastructure to create an effective networking platform in 2020 for our tourism sector, which predominantly comprises small and medium-sized enterprises, and for the international travel trade. We are working closely with the international travel industry during this difficult period. As our ever-reliable global points of contact, the sales managers in the GNTB’s foreign representative offices are currently fielding a lot of questions about the situation in Germany. After all, the GNTB works with more than 5,000 tour operators around the world.”

The German travel industry, which is dominated by SMEs, is facing financial challenges as customers are increasingly nervous and bookings are dropping sharply. Working closely with international tour operators and online travel agencies, the GNTB and its partners in inbound tourism are already discussing recovery measures.

“I am confident that the appeal of the Destination Germany brand among holidaymakers and business travellers worldwide will allow us to overcome these difficult times,” says Ms Hedorfer. “I would like to thank our hard-working partners in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania for the highly professional preparations they have made so far, and I now look forward to a successful GTM next year.”

The German National Tourist Board (GNTB) has its headquarters in Frankfurt am Main, Germany. It works on behalf of the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) to represent Germany as a tourist destination and is funded by the Ministry in accordance with a decision taken by the German Bundestag. The GNTB develops and communicates strategies and products to promote Germany’s positive image abroad as a tourist destination and to encourage tourists to visit the country. It has 31 agencies around the world to support its activities.