European Tourist Boards Host Travel Trade Workshop

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National tourist boards of Germany, Switzerland, Austria and France welcome travel trade to an exclusive joint networking-event in Dubai ahead of ATM

European Tourist Boards Host Travel Trade Workshop

Dubai, UAE, 27 March 2019Demonstrating their commitment to the Gulf region, the European national tourist boards of Germany, Switzerland, Austria and France are hosting an exclusive networking-event in Dubai in April ahead of the Middle East’s leading tourism fair Arabian Travel Market (ATM) to raise awareness ahead of the busy summer season.

In a combined effort, Atout France’s travel trade workshop ‘Marhaba’ will kick off their two-day event on 24 April, while the national tourist boards of Germany, Switzerland and Austria will take over on 26 April and host the ‘Heart of Europe Travel Summit’ in the beautiful settings of the Sofitel, The Palm, Dubai.

More than 40 tourism suppliers from France and 80 from Germany, Switzerland and Austria – ranging from local tourist boards, hotels, destination management companies, airports, shopping facilities, transport companies as well as medical clinics – are looking forward to developing the knowledge on the destinations and provide travel trade from the GCC with the opportunity to source products to enhance their holiday offerings for the summer season and beyond. The four tourism boards expect the attendance of over 100 buyers from the GCC region.

Highlighting the importance of the travel trade industry in the Gulf region, Sigrid de Mazieres, Director for the Gulf countries at the German National Tourist Office (GNTO), an affiliate of the German National Tourist Board, said: “We are excited to collaborate with our European neighboring countries, and to facilitate business relations between our touristic partners and the local travel trade through this new innovative platform”.

Commenting on this exclusive networking-event, Robert Gröblacher, Director Middle East & South East Asia, Austrian National Tourist Office said: “Our four countries are amongst the most visited and most popular premium destinations by travellers from the GCC in Europe. We are very proud to join forces and thus provide a perfect networking opportunity for the top touristic players from our countries and the GCC region“

The travel trade workshops will include pre-scheduled B2B appointments, cutting-edge presentations and extensive social programmes to experience the destinations’ hospitality and networking opportunities with participating decision makers.

“Switzerland Tourism is happy to welcome the most successful GCC tour operators and travel agents on the Heart of Europe Travel Summit.  The Summit is a fantastic opportunity to showcase the beauty of Switzerland and its neighbors to the GCC travel-trade. The event enables dedicated buyers and suppliers to meet in a very convenient way and nice setting in Sofitel the Palm, Dubai and its straightforward approach will guarantee a great return on investment”, commented Matthias Albrecht, Director GCC, Switzerland Tourism.

For travel trade interested in selling the respective European countries, the event is the perfect opportunity to strengthen ties and discover the latest product offerings from Germany, Switzerland, Austria and France. By working together and investing in this workshop, the tourist boards showcase their support of the GCC travel trade, and reflect the value of the industry for their tourism business.

“We believe that one of many challenges facing the travel trade industry today is to keep abreast of the growing and changing needs of travelers from the region. This joint and unprecedented event is a direct response to assist the travel trade in selling our countries.” explains Karim Mekachera, Regional Director of Atout France Middle East.

The GCC is one of the Top 15 source markets for Germany and Austria and the third largest non-European source market, after China and USA. For Switzerland, the GCC market is the 5th biggest foreign market and the 1st market in daily expenditure spending with approx. - 450 CHF daily per person. MENA (North Africa, Levant and The Gulf Countries region) represents 2.5 million visitors in France from which 60% are GCC’s travellers in 2018.

In addition, the tourist boards of Germany, Switzerland and Austria will be participating with dedicated stands at the trade fair ATM to further boost tourism growth from the Gulf region.



About GNTB

The headquarters of the German National Tourist Board (GNTB) are in Frankfurt am Main, Germany. It works on behalf of the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology (BMWi) to represent Germany as a tourist destination and is funded by the Ministry in accordance with a decision taken by the German Bundestag. The GNTB develops and communicates strategies and products to promote Germany's positive image abroad as a tourist destination and to encourage tourists to visit the country. The GNTB is currently represented in 32 countries. More information can be found at our online press centre: To download press pictures, please register via:


About ANTO

The Austrian National Tourist Office (ANTO) is Austria’s national tourist organisation. Our main core activities consist of opening up the most promising international markets through implementation of innovative and contemporary marketing activities. Besides our headquarters in Vienna, we operate 20 offices worldwide and are actively promoting Austria in more than 30 countries. For more information please visit: (B2C) and (B2B).”


About ST

Switzerland Tourism (ST) -founded in 1917-is the national tourism board of Switzerland. ST promotes Switzerland as a destination for travel, tourism, business and conferences. Worldwide, ST employs over 230 staff members in 26 countries. ST Dubai office was opened in 2003.

About Atout France

Atout France includes national and local government authorities working in partnership with the tourism industry and the major sectors of the French economy. A total of 1,300 members, representative of the French tourism industry, rely on its expertise. Atout France’s mission is performed through a network of 32 offices abroad, a head office in Paris, together with branch offices in mainland France and its overseas territories. Atout France Dubai, the regional office for the Middle East and Turkey, aims to raise France’s profile as the world’s top tourist destination in international markets as well as to promote the fields of tourism training and education in France.