Germany banks on Gap Year travellers for growth
There is a growing trend for young South Africans to take time out for travel after either completing their matric or university studies. This so called gap year is often described by those in the know as a life changing experience and a lesson in self discovery.
The German National Tourist Board has identified youth travel as a growing market and a tourism segment that offers vast economic potential. “Young people visiting Germany today are Destination Germany’s future holidaymakers and business traveller,” explains Petra Hedorfer, Chief Executive Office of the GNTB. Current figures show that about one third of all international visitors to Germany are under the age of 39. For this reason plans are underway to use a new broad-based social media campaign to promote the country as a destination around the world, particularly amongst young travellers. To encourage active communication on social networks, check-in points at some of Germany’s best known sights are being planned. This free service uses a radio frequency identification (RFID) wristband similar to the technology found in ski passes. The international traveller simply logs in online and shares photos and text messages using the social media platform.
Unlike many top European destinations with one main city, Germany is in a unique position as it offers at least 10 cosmopolitan cities. From Berlin to Hamburg and Munich to Stuttgart these vibrant and trendy cities are spread across the country linked by an excellent coach and train infrastructure. Not only is Germany safe and English is widely spoken throughout the country, it is also affordable and geared towards accommodating young people in their many youth hostels that not only provide a bed but offer entertainment, activities and outdoor pursuits. Germany’s up and coming music scene covers the full spectrum of genres from rock, pop and dance to hip-hop and classical. Those seeking to burn energy can opt for the latest trend sports on land, on water and in the air. Youngsters seeking an adrenaline rush should not miss visiting one of the many theme parks.
Germany continues to gain popularity amongst South Africa travellers. The latest overnight figures released by the GNTB show that there has been an increase of almost 11% of South Africans to Germany in the first four months of this year compared to 2011.