Marissa Vincent and Tracey March, both Corporate Travel Management, with Michael Katter, Unique Germany Marissa Vincent and Tracey March, both Corporate Travel Management, with Michael Katter, Unique Germany

Oktoberfest alternative and other tips from visiting German operator

Giving clients tips like how to have an ‘Oktoberfest’ experience without the crowds, and where to find a medieval German town just half an hour from Frankfurt airport will provide travellers with a reason to re-look at the destination, says Michael Kater, managing director of Unique Germany.


Kater was in New Zealand yesterday as one of the 19 operators taking part in the Destination Marketing Services’ DMS Connect event. He says New Zealanders who are discouraged from attending Oktoberfest because of crowds and higher accommodation prices should consider ‘Spring Oktoberfest’ which is held in Munich in April. ‘It is like Oktoberfest was 20 years ago – guests just turn up and go for it, there is no need to book ahead. You pay less for airfares and something like 50% less for accommodation and the tent packages.’ Kater says agents should become acquainted with the festival, which started developing from a standard fun fair about five years ago and is now gaining a reputation as a beer experience. ‘Agents can recommend the Spring Oktoberfest and develop a programme around it.’

Kater, who was also promoting incentive travel under his Compass Tours Incoming brand, says Munich and Berlin remain the major city destinations for both FIT and incentive customers. However, he recommends clients visit Heidelberg, to acclimatise after a trip to Frankfurt. ‘It is a medieval town just half an hour away from the airport, about the same time it takes to get to the centre of the city. It’s got a river, an old town, and a castle and is surrounded by vineyards. Clients can go there and get used to the climate and time zone before travelling on in Germany.’ Despite the publicity around speed limits on the German Autobahn, Kater says driving on these super highways is still extremely popular. ‘There are still a lot of autobahns without speed limits and people can rent a fast Porche or Mercedes and travel on these roads. Or they can drive on a Formula 1 track.’