Travel Business News - Europe.
Berlin On its 10th anniversary, July 1, the Berlin Convention Office (BCO) will celebrate a decade of growth and the successful positioning of post-Wall Berlin as one of the worldOs top meetings destinations. Having hosted some 91,000 events with 4.2 million participants in 2001, meeting destination Berlin today has grown to 113,100 events per year with a total of 9.1 million participants. During the same time, BerlinOs number of hotel beds rose from 63,000 to 112,400 and the cityOs meeting space expanded to 4.95 million square feet. Berlin now ranks fourth in the ICCA ranking for international congresses and conventions, up from ninth in 2001. Heike Mahmoud, director of the Berlin Convention Office, attributes the success of meetings destination Berlin to the cityOs excellent value, EuropeOs most modern hotels, the abundance of modern meetings space, as well as BerlinOs reputation as a must-see city. Scheduled to open in BerlinOs western center in the winter of 2011, the new Waldorf Astoria Berlin will feature 211 guest rooms, including 24 suites, as well as 21 apartments. The newly built hotel is within walking distance of BerlinOs Zoo station, the Kurfrstendamm shopping boulevard and the KaDeWe department store. The 31-floor property will feature close to 12,000 square feet of conference and meeting facilities, a spa and wellness area, as well as a stylish restaurant and sky bar, which promises some of the best cityscape views of Berlin. The Waldorf Astoria is the second hotel in the Hilton family is opening in the German capital, and will supplement the facilities at the Hilton Berlin, located in the eastern part of the city. For more information, visit www.waldorfastoria.com or www.visitBerlin.com. Jun 28, 2011
Helsinki This spring, the Helsinki City Tourist & Convention organized a familiarization trip to Helsinki for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GLBT) travel agents in co-operation with the Finnish Tourist Board and Hotel Kakslauttanen in Saariselk, Lapland. Altogether 10 agents participated from five countries -- Great Britain, France, Italy, Russia and the U.S. Several members of the Gay Friendly Helsinki network also took part in the program. According to research, the GLBT segment generates more travel income per person and travels more than other tourist groups. As a member of the International Gay & Lesbian Travel Association (IGLTA), Helsinki participated this May in the associationOs congress in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. OHelsinki was invited to the congressOs Unique Destinations sales event alongside 10 other rising destinations to tell about our offerings. Helsinki is still a new, unique and interesting destination for GLBT tourists. Our advantages include openness, the proximity to nature, local food and friendly locals,O said Halonen. The Gay Friendly Helsinki network currently has 38 members, and it continues to accept new members among companies providing services suitable for GLBT visitors. The network includes companies providing accommodation, transportation and event services. The Tourist & Convention Bureau offers the networkOs services to international travel organizers, transportation companies and travel agencies whose customers include primarily or partially GLBT travelers. Training events are also organized for members of the network in co-operation with Out Now Consulting, an international company that is specialized in marketing activities that target the gay sector. A GayComfort label has been created for the travel industry and is awarded to companies who participate in the training program. For more information, visit www.visithelsinki.fi, www.outnowconsulting.com or www.gaycomfort.com. Jun 28, 2011
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