Germany’s success as a meetings destination – the country is #1 in Europe and #2 in the world for association meetings – can be attributed to its magic triangle: value for money, infrastructure and expertise. Germany offers excellent infrastructure and value for money, but it is also a major international player in many different industries, such as biotech, pharmaceutical, and automotive. The GCB is one of the first to leverage this expertise and industry clusters to attract meetings business.

“Germany’s leadership as a meetings destination is based not only on the cultural and natural attractions with which we have been blessed, but also on our vision to set the example as an outstanding meeting country and partner,” said Matthias Schultze, Managing Director, GCB. “Early on, we began integrating local industry expertise and important world issues, such as the environment, into our communications, and the overwhelmingly positive response to this strategy confirms its legitimacy for the meetings market.”

Numerous studies have been published regarding the high satisfaction rates of international visitors and business travelers to Germany.

For example, the World Economic Forum’s 2013 Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Report cites strong ratings for Germany. The country ranks #2 in the overall report. Other rankings of note include:

  • infrastructure (#6);
  • the number of cultural resources (#5 worldwide for its World Heritage cultural sites); 
  • the number of international fairs and exhibitions per year (#2); 
  • hotel prices are relatively competitive (#55).In addition, for the first time ever, more people came to Germany in 2012 for promotable business trips than for trade shows and exhibitions, according to the German National Tourist Board (GNTB). Promotable business trips to Germany increased by 16.4 percent in 2012 (from 2011) and consequently grew more than traditional business trips or visits for trade shows and exhibitions.

Brazil as the market of the future

Brazil is of particular interest to Germany due to several factors, according to the GNTB:

  • Germany is the fourth most popular European destination for Brazilian tourists;
  • 21 percent of Brazilian trips to Germany are for business purposes;
  • Brazil is among the most important overseas source markets for business travel to Germany.

These statistics echo the results of a study that the German Convention Bureau conducted recently on the potential of Brazil as a meetings and events market. In this report, the GCB examined similarities, complementary offerings and industry specializations that attract conferences and events.

A growing percentage of the Brazilian national GDP is German, and Brazil is Germany’s most important trade partner in Latin America. More than 1,200 German companies operate in the country, employing more than 250,000 people. There are more than 800 German companies around Sao Paulo alone, making it the largest German business center outside of Germany.

Many thriving industries, common to both Germany and Brazil, could leverage German in-country expertise as part of a meetings strategy. For example, the automotive industry is strong in Brazil (#6 globally). As a result, many Brazilian meetings within this industry come to Germany to benefit from the expertise at such companies as BMW, Mercedes, Porsche and Volkswagen.

The health/biotech/pharmaceutical industry is another natural point of potential synergy, as Germany is a preferred meetings destination for a number of Brazilian associations in the field.

“Before South American meeting planners commit to an international meetings destination, I invite them to talk with the German Convention Bureau to discover how they can take their meeting to new levels of learning, ROI and engagement via Germany,” Schultze concluded. Based on similar time zones, the GCB New York office will work closely with Brazil. This office also handles the United States and Canada.