Eat your way through Germany

Ahead of the 185th Munich Oktoberfest, the world-famous food and beverage extravaganza, and in line with its annual theme of Culinary Germany, the German National Tourist Office (GNTO) hosted a foodie event, together with Emirates Airline, München Tourismus and Steigenberger Hotel Business Bay, where punters learned how to prepare, and savour, German delicacies.

Sigrid de Mazieres, director for the Gulf countries at the German National Tourist Office (GNTO), an affiliate of the German National Tourist Board (GNTB), commented, “There is a general misconception about German food – that it is all about meat and potatoes, that it is heavy. This is not true, our flavours are more cosmopolitan and the variety of fare available is quite varied, for instance, we do enjoy our greens and fish too. We are also known to love our bread in Germany, we have more than 600 types of breads and twice the variety of pastries and rolls, and not to forget cakes. The most famous export probably being the black forest cake.”

A recent survey conducted by the German National Tourist Office (GNTO) showed that visiting restaurants and cafés was listed as the second most popular holiday activity in Germany iafter sightseeing. The survey also found out that 7 per cent of foreign holidaymakers visit Germany because of the wide variety and high quality of dining, food and beverages on offer. Today Germany boasts some 290 restaurants that have one Michelin Star, and 11 feature three stars.

“Food and drink are often the highlight – if not the main reason for holidays and short breaks. Germany as a year-round travel destination offers a wide range of travel occasions to taste and experience the German food scene. No matter, whether travellers head to our vibrant cities to dine at a fine Michelin-starred restaurant or plan to visit seasonal food events like the upcoming festive Christmas markets, there is truly something for everyone,” said de Mazieres.

Regardless of its culinary offerings, Germany has been steadily rising in popularity as a holiday destination of choice for Gulf nationals, so much so that Gulf countries are among the top 15 source markets for Germany. From January to June 2018, overnight stays from the region increased by 4.4 per cent compared to the same period in 2017. GCC nationals account for highest global spending per person/trip to Germany, are among the top three revenue generators for German inbound tourism and spend an average of 11 nights touring the country.

Germany is a also leading European travel hub, well-connected with daily flights from the GCC region, with an average duration of about six hours, making the year-round travel destination a perfect spot for short breaks, too. Emirates Airline, which operates three flights a day from Dubai to Munich, will start daily three-class A380 services to Hamburg from end of this month, Shaz Peshimam, Emirates senior manager for Dubai and the Northern Emirates, announced. In line with the spirit of Culinary Germany, “During Oktoberfest, we will be offering an enhanced range of German delicacies across selected flights, so customers across all classes can kick off the Oktoberfest celebrations on board with a specially created menu.”

Southern Germany, and particularly the Bavarian capital Munich, has traditionally been the most popular haunt for GCC travellers. “Munich provides an inspiration for leading chefs, with the Bavarian capital topping the gourmet charts year after year”, said Robert Leckel – manager Trade and Media Relations Middle East, Russia and Eastern Europe from the Munich Tourist Board. He revealed that, “a total of eight Munich restaurants have scored top marks in the 2018 edition of the Gault-Millau gourmet guide. The state capital is also home to one of Germany’s eleven three-star Michelin chefs, four two-star venues and six other Munich restaurants have been awarded one Michelin star.”