Saxony – Official Culture Destination, ITB Berlin NOW 2021… and rightly so
Exclusive Interview: Barbara Klepsch, Minister of State for Culture and Tourism – Saxony
2020 was a difficult year for tourism due to the Covid-19 pandemic. But throughout the year, Saxony has taken strong measures to support and develop its tourism industry. We asked Barbara Klepsch, Saxony’s Minister of State for Culture and Tourism to tell us more.
The Corona pandemic poses great challenges for tourism and the situation is difficult for many. Both the Federal and State governments did their utmost to protect businesses with various support programmes. Each time it was possible to travel, we intensively promoted Saxony with additional budgets. We all want to get out of this situation and everyone hopes it will happen this year. Saxony’s regions are attractive destinations. Together we are working hard to provide the necessary financial support for tourism. Federal support programmes will hopefully be effective to save as many businesses as possible.
What measures have been taken to guarantee the health and safety of tourists?
Together with the German Hotel and Restaurant Association (DEHOGA), hygiene concepts for the hospitality industry were drawn up very quickly and implemented by the companies. For the coming season, we will continue to rely on current hygiene concepts but also on high vaccination rates and travellers’ self-responsibility in social distancing.
Saxony is the Official Culture Destination of ITB Berlin NOW 2021. What is your message in regards to this partnership?
Saxony’s special appeal is deeply linked to the combination of its cultural treasures and natural wonders. ITB’s new Culture Destination concept is tailor-made for our region. It provides a special opportunity to draw attention to Saxony as an outstanding world-class cultural and city break destination combined with distinctive nature experiences. With our involvement at ITB Berlin NOW 2021, we actually provide to the national and international trade audience a preview of 2022, when Saxony will be the official ITB Berlin Host Country.
Together with Saxony Tourism (TMGS), you are working on adapting the strategy to current hygiene protection measures. How?
Saxony’s extensive cultural landscape is an essential life blood for us, without which tourism would function only to a very limited extent. All our efforts are aimed at ensuring that cultural institutions can reopen from March onwards, provided that the current infection rates allow so. Cultural events must be adapted to the hygiene requirements according to our progressive reopening plan, although we must take into consideration that cultural institutions face different challenges. The functions of a museum are very different from those of a theatre, a cinema or a concert hall. Specific hygiene concepts therefore have to be coordinated via local health authorities.
What are your forecasts for 2021 with regards to the development of tourist numbers and markets of origin?
Approximately 50% of our holidaymakers come from eastern Germany. This share should be a little higher in 2021 and 2022, as people favour local travel. Internationally, we primarily see our neighbouring countries, Poland and the Czech Republic, to be the first to come back.
Which destinations in Saxony are particularly attractive under current conditions?
In 2020, Saxon Switzerland performed best of all Saxon holiday regions, with the smallest declines. In general, areas with a large and high-quality range of holiday homes, flats and campsites will tend to be favoured by the tourists.
How is your budget for tourism evolving in pandemic times?
In our government’s draft for the budget 2021/2022, we proposed €27.4 million for tourism in Saxony, which will be used to finance the further development and tourism marketing activities of our regions – especially in the restart phase. We fight for every euro in the state government to keep the tourism industry alive
Visit Saxony’s Culture Café
at ITB Berlin NOW
Here, ITB trade visitors and journalists can see some of Saxony’s top cultural highlights:
Experience great music and art, or go on virtual tours through museums, manufactories and historical town centres! From classic to contemporary, from rural to urban – Take a break, come in and “feel the art beat”!
Every day from 10 a.m.to 6 p.m.