Startlingly inexpensive Germany awaits Indian travellers

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New Delhi, Oct 17 (UNI) Contrary to popular belief, Germany offers tourists one of the most cost-effective and inexpensive travel itineraries, with star hotels in major cities offering rates at par with those in India.

To promote Germany as a tourist destination and not just an industrial powerhouse, Chief Executive Officer of the German National Tourist Board, Petra Hedorfer, told the media here that her country aimed mostly at the 'individual traveller' out on a leisure trip.

''With an annual target of 15-20 per cent increased inflow of Indian tourists to Germany, we are looking to tap those who go out for leisure purposes, honeymooners and family tours for fun.'' Dispelling the notion that Germany was for the rich and affluent class, Ms Hedorfer said, surprisingly, some top cities have costs less than that of India, when compared to star hotel stay and food costs -- two most important areas where expenses in foreign travel count.

''We are at the 10th place when compared to other cities of Europe in terms of cost scale. Most of Europe's brands are sold cheapest in Germany for which we are very popular,'' she said.

''Our other advantage in cost terms is our quality quotient with world-class offerings at a fraction of what the entire Europe has to offer,'' she added.

''The price factor is the biggest reason why we want Indians to explore Germany,'' she said.

On why Indians should visit Germany, the GNTB head said a country with 5,000-plus castles and palaces enwrapping fairyland romantic tales, three million events per annum, number two on the 'Cultural' map, 1,000-plus exclusive spa hotels, fascinating haute cuisine, amazing landscapes (Baltic sea to Alpine slopes) and alluring shopping arcades, Germany has ''everything for everyone''.

Indians being culturally very conscious, Germany with its 32 UNESCO World Heritage sites, 4,000 museums and more than 400 theatre and opera houses would fulfil all their cravings to explore the beauty and history of medieval Europe.

''As the second most popular destination for Indian travellers in Europe, we are also the number one location for trade fairs and Europe's number one location for conferences and conventions, besides an unparalleled business and shopping destination,'' Ms Hedorfer claimed.

German Ambassador Bernd Miitzelburg allayed fears of visa restrictions, saying any and every bonafide visitor was welcome.

''For the first-time travellers, the delay in visa might be there, for verification purposes, but for those who want to visit Germany for tourism or business, there is no problem. We just want to make sure about visitors, thats all,'' she said.

GNTB (India) Director Romit Theophilus said the board was happy at the tremendous response of Indian tourists to Germany last year and was thus, aggressively pursuing Europe-bound Indians travellers.

''And to the surprise of many, Germany is extremely affordable for Indian travellors. We just need to reach out these facts to the people here,'' he added.

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