March 1, 2021

Face-to-face with Saxony: Official Culture Destination ITB Berlin NOW 2021

Exclusive Interview: Veronika Hiebl, Managing Director – Saxony Tourism (Tourismus Marketing Gesellschaft Sachsen)

This year, Saxony is ITB’s first Official Culture Destination, and will be the Official Partner Country of ITB Berlin 2022. We asked Veronika Hiebl, Managing Director – Tourismus Marketing Gesellschaft Sachsen mbH (TMGS), about this new partnership and this year’s ITB highlights.

ITB’s Official Culture Destination concept is tailor-made for Saxony. We digitally present ourselves with 27 partners under the slogan “Saxony – Feel the Art Beat”, offering images, interviews, live streams, a Culture Café, webinars and a press café. Our main themes are “Culture & Cities”, “Active Nature” and “Family Holidays”.

How did TMGS reorganise its marketing strategy under Covid-19?
Since the pandemic in spring 2020, we have concentrated on a domestic campaign, “Experience your Saxony”, and on an international one, “Saxony Travel Dreams”. These help in maintaining and even deepening our relationships with partners worldwide through innovative offers, digitalisation and sustainability.

Which segments have the highest potential in 2021?
The focus is clearly on Saxony’s culture. However, the pandemic generates new travel values linked to socio-ecological responsibility. This means great potentials for nature and active holidays, for more targeted city tourism and for “off the beaten-path” vacations. It’s been important to develop more individualised and high-quality offers supported by digital marketing.

Despite the difficult situation in 2020, were there some positive developments?
The Corona pandemic has created a profound disruption for tourism. TMGS implemented a major recovery campaign to present Saxony as a high-quality, cultural and distinctive nature destination. We were pleased that some of Saxony’s regions were able to partially recover over summer 2020 up to October. In August alone, we counted a total of more than two million overnight stays. But this result should not hide the fact that losses for the year were dramatic.

How important is ITB Berlin NOW for Saxony’s tourism development?
We feel proud that Saxony has been selected by ITB Berlin as the show’s first-ever Official Culture Destination for 2021. It is an opportunity to present ourselves as one of the world’s major cultural destinations. And we feel very excited about this first entirely virtual ITB.

Photo: Veronika Hiebl, Managing Director – Saxony Tourism

Saxony’s 3 key assets

1) Natural beauty

2) Outstanding art and culture

3) World-famous traditional crafts and modern artisan businesses

All these can be found side by side in Saxony’s seven travel regions. The local music scene has no equal anywhere in Germany. Spectacular castles, palaces and gardens are part of the state’s grand cultural heritage. Saxony also impresses visitors with its historical steam engines and automotive heritage.

Veronika Hiebl:  Over 20 years’ experience in regional tourism marketing

Veronika Hiebl, graduated in tourism business administration in 1999. She then worked at the Tourismus-Marketing Gesellschaft Baden-Württemberg from 1999 to 2010 in various positions before holding the position of Marketing Manager and Deputy Managing Director. She moved to Saxony in 2010, where she took over the management of the Ore Mountains Tourism Association. Since May 2019, Veronika Hiebl is Managing Director of Saxony Tourism. It is her mission to further develop tourism in Saxony and to market it domestically and internationally.

Face-to-face with Saxony: Official Culture Destination ITB Berlin NOW 2021