Tag Archives: Tourism

Tourismusforum Alpenregionen – a look back

On Monday I attended the Tourismusforum Alpenregionen in Zell am See. This event is an annual conference where tourism professionals of the Alps meet up. It is in german, therefore its mainly Austrians and Swiss – this year with a lot of Swiss people. The most are Destination Managers or CEOs of Ski resorts. I attended as I was interested into the afternoon session – which was titled “Grow – From the West to the East to the Far East – the markets of the future”. The morning session did not really fit my interests and I was rather disappointed, but I had some nice talks during lunch breaks and “Networking” is one of the main reasons to attend this kind of event.

The afternoon session was much better and I could learn a lot. There were presentations by a guy from the Austrian Tourist board, Renate Ecker from Zell am See/Kaprun tourism, Stefan Otz from Interlaken tourism, Ankita Makwana, an indian movie director, who lives in Mumbai and Zurich and finally from Waseem Hussain, a swiss/indian business man, who supports Swiss companies who do business in India and vice versa.

It was very interesting to hear about the specific needs people from different countries have and to get examples from people who have guests from this regions for some years already. I thought it was very inspiring and am happy that I attended. I especially liked the very international approach of Interlaken, who have guests from all over the world, which is very unusual for the alpine tourism destinations. I will definitely visit Interlaken in the next couple of months to see, how the international mixture of guests in a swiss town looks and feels.

Anyone ever been to Interlaken? Did you enjoy it? What are the things to be done there?

Leave a comment

Filed under Talking about Tourism

Staying in Zell am See for some days

Hi. I am writing this new blog post from Zell am See, where I am staying for a couple of days. My wife comes from the area and we visited her parents for the weekend. Tomorrow I will attend a conference on Tourism in Zell am See – the Tourismusforum Alpenregionen 2012.

Zell am See is still busy with ski tourists, but everything is turning green again and you can now sense what a great place it is in summer.

Panorama of Zell am See from the other end of ...

Panorama of Zell am See from the other end of Zeller See Deutsch: Zell am See (rechts), vom Nordende des Zeller Sees, links Halbinsel von Thumersbach Blick Richtung Süden über das Salzachtal Mitte Hoher Tenn (3368 m) mit Imbachhorn (2470 m) und Vorbergen, rechts Kitzsteinhorn (3203 m), links Schwarzkopf (2765 m), dazwischen ferne Brennkogel (3018 m) über dem Hochtor der Großglockner Hochalpenstraße. Ganz rechts Abhänge der Schmittenhöhe, links des Hundstein. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

During winter Zell am See has a very international group of guests, and this is also true for the summer. What is especially interesting for me, is the huge amount of people from the Gulf States that visit Zell am See during Summer (especially July). This is due to immense work done by the Tourist board to establish the Alpes as a place to visit for people from the Arabian Peninsula. Zell offers their Arab guests all the things they do not have – an impressive green landscape, lots of Water (Zell am See means Zell at the Lake) and snow. There is a nearby glacier, with a summer skiing resort, so people from Arabia love to try some skiing without the coldness, that comes with winter.

But Zell is also a very great place to visit for people from all over the world, not just the Arabian Peninsula and I will come back to that the next time I visit Zell am See.

In my next forum post I will try to concentrate on the conference I visit tomorrow to give you some insights into the Alpine tourism professionals scene.

Leave a comment

Filed under Traveling in Europe

Get to know Edinburgh like a local

I am happy to present another guest post today, it was written by Nicolas, an American who has a lot of European experience – he lived in Scotland recently and he gives us some insights into Edinburgh:

Edinburgh is the capital of Scotland and is nestled in the central belt region of the country between a collection of gorgeous historical villages and medieval relics. It’s filled with an ancient heritage that really is as old as the hills, as well as new architecture that has sprung up from the cracks, and is packed with plenty of culture, activities and parties to keep the wandering traveller settled for a few months.

Enjoy the Edinburgh entertainment!

Edinburgh is renowned the world-over for its entertainment. Hogmanay is the biggest night of the year with street festivals, huge parties and on-going events but the rest of the year won’t disappoint. Expect to find cultural festivals and night-life parties that are scheduled throughout the year (come rain or snow) as well as many street performers that will entertain you during the day. Many restaurants and pubs come alive well before midday, and Edinburgh boasts a collection of fringe and mainstream clubs to satisfy any musical cravings. The party here doesn’t stop, and it’s worth sticking around to enjoy the family-friendly events as well.

Things you should see in Edinburgh

It goes without saying that you should visit the Royal Mile. It’s the stretch of roads that go from the Castle down to Holyrood House (both worth a visit, too) and it’s packed with charming little shops and houses as well as some big names like Starbucks. This is a great place to stay if you like being in the heart of the action and renting a flat is a great option for those who want to enjoy the sites of Edinburgh for a bit longer than a three-day weekend. The Royal Mile is typically geared towards tourists with shops toting tartan apparel and fudge but there are some lesser-known treasures as well. Pop into Mary King’s Close while you’re there and take part in a shriekingly disturbing ghost tour for famous Scottish scares and hauntings. Other important sights include the Rosslyn Chapel (of ‘The Da Vinci Code’ fame), Arthur’s Seat (excellent views on top of an extinct volcano) and the Camera Obscura (which affords a 360’ view of the city!).

Castlehill forming part of the Royal Mile. In ...

Castlehill forming part of the Royal Mile. In the center is The Hub, housing an information service for the Edinburgh International Festival. On the right is The Scotch Whisky Experience. On the left is the Camera Obscura and shops. Photo by Gregg M. Erickson (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Things you should eat in Edinburgh

Scotland is famous for a number of things, but none less important than its black pudding, deep-friend desserts and ‘bangers & mash’. Monster Mash is a tiny little bistro restaurant that offers up a multitude of mash and banger combinations (swede mash is particularly good), and you can get deep-fried desserts at speciality restaurants in the centre of town. Keep a look-out for their popular vodka burgers, and be ready to drink everything down with a generous helping of Scottish Whisky.

Where to stay in Edinburgh

Renting a flat in Edinburgh doesn’t have to be a costly affair: flats and rental accommodation in New Town is affordable, if not cheap, and the closer you get to the bigger sites the more expensive things get. You might consider staying close to the action and renting a flat with friends as you’ll soak up more of the culture and nightlife, but it’s easy enough to walk the width or breadth of Edinburgh if you’re looking to save a few pennies.

Nicolas is a travel writer and all round globetrotter originally from New York but is now specialized specifically on the United Kingdom but also Europe and the Mediterranean in general. He has traveled extensively throughout the UK, Scotland being his most recent stop where he spent for 4 months last year.

Leave a comment

Filed under guest post, Traveling in Europe

Apres ITB – a relaxing evening in Berlin

After visiting a lot of Blogging and social media Events yesterday at the ITB I went to the networking restaurant of Austria Tourism to meet up with a friend. I was a little bit early and got into a very interesting discussion with the head of marketing at Vorarlberg Tourism, Brigitte.

After this ITB was officially over for me – Sepp, my appointment, and I decided to go to Potsdamer Platz. There we took a peek at some minor parts of the Berlin Wall that stand there and walked on towards Brandenburger Tor. We passed by the Holocaust memorial, but it was to dark, to really see something. I will visit this place today.

Brandenburger Tor was very nice and I thought it was a lot bigger, as I expected. On the other hand, the Bundestagsgebäude looks way smaller …

I had no camera with me, but I am going to visit the Bundestag today and make sure I will get some pictures from this great places.

After that we were done sightseeing, we treated ourselfes with a rather expensive drink at Hotel Adlon – but the great athmosphere and the very good live bar music, made it a worthwhile investment. To balance things out, we went to a “normal” bar afterwards – at FC Magnet Bar, we had a beer and watched a boring draw between Stuttgart and Kaiserslautern.

Leave a comment

Filed under Traveling in Europe

First day at the ITB Berlin

Today was the first day of the ITB 2012 and it was a great experience. I had no appontments today, therefore I was free to have a look at the huge fair and discover my personal favorites.

It is rather exhausting walking through the different halls, as the area is just big and very crowded. But it is inspiring to see, how much effort tourist companies and incoming agencies all over the world have put up, to stand out of the crowd.

After lunch I visited some seminars at the webtravel lounge. It is unbelievable how little input some so called social media experts give. I believe I can call myself a social media expert myself, as it seems hard to learn something new.

But the last seminar I attended was great, and this one definitely gave me some valuable input and insights. It was by Adam Medros. Vice President Global Product, at Tripadvisor. He gave some great insights into Tripadvisor and this speech was really inspiring.

After a long day I finally visited the Austrian Tourist Office Networking Café, where I ended a long day with a nice glass of Austrian beer.

Leave a comment

Filed under Background

Busy week ahead – ITB Berlin

On Tuesday I will travel to Berlin as I visit the ITB Berlin, the biggest tourism fair world wide. I am looking forward to this, as I meet a lot of interesting people and hope to get some boost for my business. I will try to give you some insights about the ITB. To start with I will give you some facts and figures, so you know a little bit about the backgrounds of the ITB.

  • ITB stands for Internationale Tourismus Börse – international tourism exchange. It was founded in 1966 and is held annually in Berlin.
  • 2012 ITB starts on March 7th and ends on March 11th. The last two days are open to the public, the first three days are for tourism professionals.
  • The fair is spread over an area of 160.000 square meters, with over 11.000 exhibitors that have stands at this years ITB – they represent business from over 180 countries of the world.
  • 2011 there were 169.295 visitors and 110.791 trade visitors.

To visit a fair of this extend needs a lot of preparation – I have a lot of meetings on Thursday. Wednesday I will try to visit some of the most interesting stands (in my oppinion) and Friday is my back-up day. I guess I will not attend on Saturday, as I would love to visit some places in Berlin …

Tomorrow I have another guest entry scheduled – the rest of the week will be concentrating on the ITB and Berlin …

If anyone reading here is also attending ITB, please drop me a message, if your available for a cup of coffee. It´s on me …

3 Comments

Filed under Background

Going to Berlin: Train vs Plane?

In March I will attend the biggest tourism fair worldwide – the ITB Berlin. I am really looking forward to this, as I have never attended this fair before and I never visited Berlin, either. I will use the ITB to meet potential partners for my company (www.happyheartofeurope.com)

Today I was planning my trip to Berlin and after checking flights and connections I also checked the train schedule.

This was my outcome:

Best way to get to Berlin by Plane is via Zurich Airport: It will take me 5 hours 30 minutes to get from my place to Berlin City Center and it will cost me €310 (with 15 minutes estimated from arriving at Berlin Tegel to leaving the Airport)*

To go there by Train it will take me 9 hours and 10 minutes – for €88. This is possible due to a special offer of the Austrian Railway Operator. I am not allowed to change my schedule (but I am not allowed to do this on the plane, too).*

* both options with my house as starting point

I went for the train option – for several reason:

  • Costs – €230 are good money, and as I am setting up a company, this is something I have to consider.
  • I do like train rides – I have always plenty to do: read a book, have some coffee, work on my net-book or prepare my appointments… if the train is not too crowded, a lot of work can be done. Moreover I will be able to SEE a lot of Germany, just by passing through it – and I am looking forward to that.
  • My carbon footprint – train rides are more ecological. I did some very long flights in December (to and from India) and I believe its time to be more aware of my carbon footprint again.
  • Social aspects – I somehow tend to be get drawn into interesting conversations, while taking the train – and I can remember only one conversation to a stranger on a plane. This might be connected to my
  • Slight feeling of shakiness, whenever I am flying. I know its safe, I know nothing will happen – but still I am getting nervous during when starting, during landings and whenever we hit the slightest turbulences.

 

As you can see, the time factor was not my decisive for flying. As I am using my train time to do some work, I do not feel I lose that much time, that it weights up all the other upsides of taking the train.

So, what are your thoughts … is time so valuable that you always take the fastest options? Have you suffered too much on trains to consider them (I have friends who tell me just that)? Are you a airplane enthusiast? – or would you have made the same decision?

 

4 Comments

Filed under Talking about Tourism