Alsace is also a business tourism destination for our German neighbours. We wanted to hear their opinion on the matter! We put our questions to Jérôme Poulalier from Atout France in Germany.
Hi Jérôme, you work in the Business Tourism department at Atout France. What does that involve?
Our Business Tourism department based in Germany has two goals: to promote our members (a hundred or so French service providers) and help our German clients to organise corporate events or seminars in France, specifically in Alsace.
We carry out a variety of promotional activities to sell Alsace as a business tourism destination (namely as part of the agreement between Meet in Alsace and Atout France as well as directly with our partners e.g. the Strasbourg Convention Bureau): workshops, fairs, trips, publications etc.
What is Alsace’s potential in terms of hosting German corporate events?
Alsace has much to offer the Germans:
- The region is easy to reach straight through the regions of Rhein-Main and Bade-Wurtemberg.
- Events abroad usually take place on the edge of Germany: Alsace is therefore ideal as it is a border destination.
- The growth of infrastructures and the launch of major projects in hospitality and conference centres has made the destination even more appealing. These projects are more than capable of winning over German companies looking for the perfect place to host their corporate events.
- Alsace is brimming with personality and authenticity; traits that the Germans look for in a destination.
How do the Germans see Alsace?
Alsace has a professional and very positive image in Germany. Germans recognise and respect the presence of European bodies, the ongoing French-German relationship, cultural similarities, the presence of German speakers etc. These factors have helped Alsace to score brownie points and stand out on the German market of business tourism.
Are German clients aware of what Alsace has to offer in terms of business tourism?
Germans are aware of what it has to offer in terms of general tourism but not always in terms of business tourism. Saying that, Alsace is currently expanding activities targeting corporate event organisers in Germany. This should increase demand in the short or mid-term. Clients are very interested in the variety of options available to them and the strengths which we highlight match the image they already have of Alsace.
So which town do they choose?
Strasbourg has undeniably opened doors for the destination but the top 3 destinations complement each other.
Strasbourg, Colmar and Mulhouse meet any type of requirement in terms of guest numbers, required venue etc. For example, the Musée de l’Automobile in Mulhouse and the Musée Unterlinden in Colmar are fantastic venues for product launches, conferences, meetings, incentives or team building whilst Strasbourg has greater potential for hosting major conferences.
Alsace has real potential both for German companies and associations.
What sets Alsace apart for German clients??
Germans appreciate Alsace’s incredible heritage as well as its relationships with European bodies. Also, Alsace provides the high quality service which its German clientele has come to expect. Alsace culture may differ to German culture but there are similarities. It’s worth mentioning that numerous German companies have offices in Alsace. All this appeals to corporate event organisers.