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“Germany. Expertise.” : GCB’s New Marketing Strategy Focusing on Germany’s Scientific and Economic Expertise

1. Introduction


1) Primary Objectives

The Germany Convention Bureau (GCB) recently launched a brand new marketing campaign “Germany. Expertise.” According to Ursula Winterbauer, Head of International Business, the primary objective of the campaign is to endorse Germany as a world class business event destination through highlighting the country’s scientific and economic expertise. “The transfer of knowledge between a destination’s intellectual resources and a meeting’s attendees is becoming an important way for professional events to offer better value to the participants. Our research shows that more and more event organizers believe it will become increasingly important to connect with experts based in the destination of the meeting. Therefore, apart from good accessibility and infrastructure and great value for money, the GCB German Convention Bureau focuses on Germany’s scientific and economic expertise to promote the country as a destination for international conferences and meetings.” Winterbauer explains.

The GCB has adopted a proactive approach in identifying key industries and clusters of expertise that align with meetings. About two years ago the bureau started by consulting a variety of primary stakeholders ranging from regional and local convention bureaus and conference centers to inventory clusters of expertise within key industries through contacting local universities, research facilities, associations and companies. Winterbauer says this approach is a way to better differentiate Germany’s offer from the competitors. “There used to be a greater difference for example between European destinations in terms of accessibility, meetings infrastructure and value. Nowadays the offers are moving closer for major cities like London, Paris, Rome or Berlin. All have good flight connections, pretty countries and nice locations and those are all good and valid arguments. However, Germany is also top global exporter – second only to China and the country’s economic strength could also reside in exporting knowledge.”[1]


2) Six Key Sectors

Germany holds a strong position as a conference and events destination, and there are good reasons for such accomplishment. Germany scores high through its extensive know-how in many vital areas of science, industry and commerce as well as offering good value for money and excellent infrastructure. Linking local expertise in key industry sectors with events staged nearby is becoming increasingly important for meeting organisers. Therefore, together with its strategic partners – the German National Tourist Board (GNTB), Germany’s national railway company (Deutsche Bahn), the airline Lufthansa – and its member companies, the GCB has put Germany’s expertise in these key sectors at the heart of its marketing campaign. After all, they offer a clear added value to organizers of conventions, congresses and events. (GCB 2013) [2]


There are six key sectors in which Germany plays a major role in setting the global agenda and economic cooperation: medicine and healthcare (incl. sectors such as medical engineering and the healthcare industry), transport and logistics (incl. automotive construction, transport systems technology, aerospace), chemicals and pharmaceuticals (with disciplines such as life sciences, biotech and gene technologies, biochemistry and new materials), technology and innovation (from mechanical engineering to IKT, optical and electro-technologies to microelectronics and nanotechnology), energy and the environment as well as financial services. These key sectors shape a unique landscape of commercial and scientific clusters, which is not restricted to a few metropolitan regions but covers the entire country. Even many smaller towns are home to highly specialized institutions and companies, which are leaders in their fields. (ibid)


[Figure 1-1] The Regional Distribution of the Six Key Sectors in Germany

[1] Winterbauer, Ursula. Personal Interview via e-mail. 23 July. 2013

[2] German Convention Bureau. “Germany.Expertise. Key industry sectors – The ideal environment for meetings in Germany‘s states and regions.” May 2013.


2. Regional Focuses within the Key Sectors[1]


1) Transport and Logistics: Hamburg and Nuremberg

Germany is one of the most important logistics hubs in Europe due to its strategic location, superb infrastructure and high-tech services. Hamburg plays a key role as the most central port for trade with the Far East with the largest railway connection in northern Europe. It is also noted as the home of the world’s biggest marshalling yard and container terminal. However, as a modern hub for intermodal transport, the Nuremberg region, among others, also offers the optimized business environment for those operating in the area of transport and logistics to prosper. As the headquarters of major companies, such as Deutsche Post World Net, DHL, Schenker and Dachser, with annual revenues of € 200 billion and over 2.65 million employees in logistics innovation, technology and services, Germany is the logistics capital in Europe and the world.

(1) Hamburg

The city has long history of superior trade relations which have reinforced its economic capacity and made Hamburg an attractive destination for meetings. Skilled professionals are close at hand providing a comprehensive array of event services: agencies with creative ideas, caterers able to provide gala buffets for 3,000+ guests, suppliers of stage and presentation technology or charter companies. These reliable partners ensure the perfect logistics framework for conferences and meetings or celebratory galas. Hamburg stands out as a special location thanks to the centrally located hotels and venues, Hamburg Messe and Congress Center Hamburg, and outstanding tourist infrastructure. These assets are supplemented by locally-based expertise in the event sector and a strong spirit of cooperation between all the city’s service partners.

The logistics sector is one of the most important contributors to Hamburg’s local economy with 11,000+ logistics companies employing more than 330,000 people in the metropolis. The Hamburg Logistics Initiative is by far the largest and most predominant location network operating in the sector nationwide. Many of the internationally renowned logistics service providers are located in Hamburg. As global players in the logistics market, they handle vast flows of goods to and from every continent on the planet. Hamburg offers the thriving conditions for logistics professionals: there is a strategic network of logistics companies and experts providing sufficient business partners for every imaginable task. Another significant advantage is the city’s strength in the area of recruitment and education/training. The metropolitan region offers both an excellent quality of life and a vast population of highly qualified professionals from a wide spectrum of sectors as well as educational and vocational institutions providing quality education and training at various levels.

(2) Nuremburg

Nuremberg is an important joint not only on the trans-European rail network but also on its north-south and east-west road axes. The city’s international airport links the city to destinations all over the globe. The logistics sector has also recognized these advantages with many companies settling in the metropolitan region as a result. Currently over 107,000 people are employed in the region’s logistics sector, and eight of Germany’s top ten logistics companies are operating in Nuremberg making the region one of the top five logistics destinations in the country. The automotive sector on its own creates 85,000+ jobs in approximately 500 companies. IT-based logistics are another area of regional specialty: traffic management systems, tele-matics systems and information systems in the region are enhancing and optimizing mobility around the world.

Every year, experts from all around the world get together at FachPack, Nuremberg’s logistics and packaging trade fair. Expert events and congresses are also organized by Nürnberg-Convention, the leading congress initiative in the metropolitan region. The initiative’s strategic partners, the NürnbergMesse trade fair centre and Nürnberg Convention and Tourist Office, work closely with customers to provide the added value.


[1] German Convention Bureau. “Germany.Expertise. Key industry sectors – The ideal environment for meetings in Germany‘s states and regions.” May 2013. (*Note: the second half of this article was written primarily based on the contents of the official Germany.Expertise. marketing material published by the GCB)


2) Medicine and Healthcare: Leipzig and Nuremburg

Germany is one of the most significant healthcare markets in Europe due to its populous nature. The healthcare industry, medical engineering and biology lie at the heart of the key sector of medicine and healthcare and are inclusive of nutritional science and the wellness sector as well as certain sub-sectors of biotechnology. A range of state sponsorship programs in the research and development of innovative healthcare products in the areas of biotechnology, pharmaceutical and medical engineering ensures these standards endure and continues to develop them further in Germany. The German healthcare sector employs around 4.4 million people. A number of post-secondary education institutions with faculties in medicine and healthcare related subjects nurture the next generation of highly qualified employees and a variety of research and development clusters create mutually beneficial partnerships amongst the business, politics and academia.

Strong clusters in an outstanding environment for meetings along with the hyper dense concentration of manufacturers, medical research and educational institutions, clinics and service providers in the medical and healthcare sector in the region around Nuremberg has led it to become known as Bavaria’s “medical valley”. This density of establishments is one of a kind in Germany. Leipzig, too, is home to a number of research institutions pioneering new approaches.


(1) Leipzig

Leipzig has a long tradition as a renowned medical community in Germany and been home to numerous eminent medical scientists such as Samuel Hahnemann, Paul Flechsig, Wilhelm Wundt, Max Bürger just to name a few. The Faculty of Medicine and the University Hospital were founded in 1415 while the St. George’s City Hospital has a history that dates back over 800 years. Today there are approximately 150 institutes and clinics in the region, and tie city’s achievement in the fields of cardiology, transplantation medicine, oncology, metabolic and vascular medicine, neuro-medicine, pediatric and adolescent medicine, stem cell research and regenerative medicine are praised globally.

The Congress Center Leipzig (CCL) was voted “Best Congress and Convention Centre in Europe” by the British travel magazine Business Destinations in 2012. The center annually hosts national and international medical conventions with thousands of participants and major exhibitions. The team at the CCL strategically collaborates with the local stakeholders in the fields of medicine and science to attract international congresses to the region.


(2) Nuremburg

More than 250 medium-sized companies working in the medical and healthcare sectors including global players such as Siemens Healthcare and Novartis Pharma, are represented in the region and create 70,000 jobs. The Medical Faculty of the University of Erlangen-Nürnberg is one of the most respected scientific institutions in Germany and has been the pioneer in the international medical engineering research realm. The region is also a global leader in hospital management. Erlangen University Hospital, with its 42 clinics, institutes and divisions, is highly reputable while Nuremberg Hospital is one of the largest municipal hospitals in Europe offering a comprehensive range of medical expertise of the highest standard.

140 internationally renowned partners from the areas of science, business, politics and healthcare in the region have been collaborating to develop economically successful products, solutions and services in the healthcare sector since 2007. The members of this interdisciplinary network, “Medical Valley European Metropolitan Region of Nuremberg” (EMN), have achieved superior efficiency and performance in medical practice and research. In addition, the umbrella brand NürnbergConvention markets a number of event centers offering further space for exchange and sector meetings. The Congress Initiative NürnbergMesse in partnership with the Nuremberg Convention and Tourist Office is committed to fortify the economic strength of the region especially in the medicine and healthcare sector.


Medical Valley European Metropolitan Region Nuremberg (EMN)


The EMN sets new global standards in the field of medical engineering. It is characterized by the high density of research facilities, internationally renowned corporations and healthcare providers. Inventions and developments from the region have repeatedly written medical history. In the Medical

Valley EMN, projects are funded which lead to economically successful products, solutions and services on the healthcare market.


The stakeholders are organized in the Medical Valley European Metropolitan Region Nuremberg (EMN) Association, which controls the cluster’s development, coordination and marketing. By establishing a network that brings together a comprehensive range of expertise, the Association helps to accelerate the process from product idea to market maturity.


*Source: EMN official homepage (https://medical-valley-emn.de/en/node/3214)


3) Chemicals and Pharmaceuticals: Düsseldorf and Mainz

Germany dominates Europe’s chemical market in terms of the volume of the investment and sales as well as the expenditure on research and development. Germany is also the world’s top exporter in this sector, and names such as Bayer and BASF are synonymous with the long tradition and enormous capabilities of this branch of industry. One of the key factors behind the success is to be found in the country’s chemical parks, production locations providing a base for a wide range of companies, which in turn profit from enormous synergies. The parks are connected both with each other and with the European hubs for crude oil, natural gas and naphtha via a network of international pipelines. Cities such as Düsseldorf, one of the major centers of the biotech industry, and the scientific hotbed of Mainz play prominent roles.

Chemical Parks


  • The diversified oil supply structure ensures a stable supply basis for the German chemical industry
  • Germany gets its oil from the Mediterranean, the North Sea and from Russia via pipelines
  • Pipelines for ethylene and propylene complement the supply structure for chemical parks
  • Chemical parks are connected to a network of pipelines for natural gas, naphtha, hydrogen, carbon monoxide and technical gases
  • Chemical sites are open for companies to industry investments
  • 60 chemical parks with an excellent infrastructure and more than 2,000 ha of vacant sites for companies to invest
  • Numerous integration possibilities and, consequently, cost-reducing synergies
  • New industry segment: “Site operators” offer infrastructure, services and expertise from one source

*Source: VCI and chemical companies, Germany Trade & Invest, 2009


(1) Düsseldorf

Düsseldorf shows its particular strengths in the area of chemicals and pharmaceuticals with a special focus on life sciences and biotechnology. Leading companies in the sector meet exceptional research institutions in the city which offers outstanding business events infrastructure. Global leaders in chemicals and life sciences such as Bayer, Henkel, Johnson & Johnson, Monsanto and 3M Medica as well as reputable German biotech companies such as Qiagen, Evotec and NewLab BioQuality AG base operations in Düsseldorf and its surrounding area. Over 90 life sciences and biotechnology companies as well as a large number of specialist service providers and suppliers are located in the Düsseldorf area.

In addition, Düsseldorf enjoys the benefits of an outstanding infrastructure. The city lies at the heart of a highly developed highway network and has Germany’s third largest airport, Düsseldorf International, on its doorstep, not to mention a range of hotels which offer more than 20,000 beds in the 3 to 5 star segment providing an excellent setting for successful meetings, conventions and trade fairs.

(2) Mainz

Mainz is a central location for business and major media centre. Chemicals and pharmaceuticals have become a key sector in the city, and the high density of companies operating in this field as well as the close cooperation between science and industry offer the ideal framework for meetings and conventions in this sector. The high density of companies operating in this sector has already attracted important international events to Mainz which include the 37th Scientific Congress of the German Society of Hospital Pharmacists (ADKA), the 24th International Liquid Crystal Conference 2012 just to name a few. The large number of pharmaceutical and chemical companies based in the region makes Mainz an attractive destination for conferences, conventions and meetings for businesses operating within the sector. Regional companies are therefore frequently willing to offer their support to events as partners, sponsors and/or exhibitors. (i.e. Factory tours and involvement of keynote speakers from companies based in Mainz provide the ideal complement to event organizers’ own programs.)


4) Energy and the Environment: Berlin and Dresden

Germany is one of the global trend setters in the development of political initiatives and green-tech products to enhance sustainability, climate protection and energy efficiency for the benefit of both business and the environment. Germany is currently the world’s second largest investor in new electricity generation capacity from renewable sources, and the city of Dresden has the highest density of interdisciplinary research institutes in Germany and therefore occupies one of the most prominent positions worldwide. Germany’s capital Berlin has naturally assumed an international pioneering role in the area of “green meetings” and provides venues for highly respected industry events.

(1) Berlin

The city of Berlin is strongly committed to climate protection. Berlin has the highest concentration of solar energy research and development institutions and companies in Europe, and more than 280 combined heat and power stations generate environmentally sustainable energy such as heat and electricity. There is “green zone” in the heart of the city which only allows the access of vehicles which meet the low emissions exhaust standards and possess the required badge issued by the government authority in order to control the levels of particulates and nitrogen dioxide generated within the city center.

Moreover, the VisitBerlin Berlin Convention Office developed a website in partnership with the local stakeholders in the congress industry called “BERLIN – Green Meetings” to provide the information on suppliers which implement environmentally friends business practices. Currently there are approximately 70 suppliers listed on the online platform.


Berlin’s Green Zone


Berlin established an Environmental Zone on 1st January 2008. Its purpose is to reduce harmful pollutants in the air caused by vehicle emissions. The Environmental Zone is an area in Berlin where only those vehicles are allowed to drive that meet certain exhaust emission standards. It is delimited by the suburban train circle line (S-Bahn). Vehicles with particularly high emissions must stay outside this area. The rule also applies to vehicles registered abroad.


Colored windscreen stickers have been introduced in order to be able to check whether a vehicle emits small or large amounts of pollutants. These stickers are valid in all Environmental Zones established in German cities – not just in Berlin, but also for example in Hanover, Cologne or Stuttgart. Foreign tourists also require such a sticker for their vehicles. There are four pollutant classes, which correspond to the exhaust emission standards (Euro norm) for diesel vehicles. Diesel vehicles can be upgraded to a higher pollutant class if they are retrofitted with a particulate filter. Stickers are not issued for vehicles in pollutant class 1. Since 1st January 2010 only vehicles with green stickers are allowed. However, vehicles with a yellow sticker, that are registered abroad, are exempted from the traffic ban in the environmental zone until 31 December 2014. Vehicles registered abroad will be classified either on the basis of documentary evidence that they meet the European emission standards or according to their initial registration date. The following table is intended to give a general overview for passenger cars, but there may be variations in individual cases.




*Source: www.berlin.de/umweltzone


(2) Dresden

Three key sectors driving the growth and development of Dresden are microelectronics, nanotechnology and biotechnology. The city has the highest density of research institutions in Germany; however, it is more than just the quantity of research taking place in Dresden that is remarkable. Another impressive aspect of the city’s research environment is the “Dresden spirit” which is the supportive network of relationships between research and industry and a degree of freedom to combine forces with other institutions.

Dresden’s expertise in scientific research and development attract researchers from all over the world to share in the knowledge generated in the city through participating in meetings, conventions and major congresses. Organizers of congresses, in turn, value Dresden’s scientists as expert speakers and their institutes for guided tours. SEMICON Europa, the leading forum for semiconductors and microelectronics in Europe, and Nanofair, a biennial international symposium and trade exhibition focusing on nanotechnologies, are just two examples of how expertise attracts major conventions and congresses to Dresden.


5) Technology and Innovation: Cologne and Stuttgart

Germany is a world leader in a variety of scientific disciplines ranging from nanotechnology, microelectronics and mechanical engineering to information and communication technology. Germany uses its network of world renowned research institutes, industry clusters and initiatives to develop advanced technologies. Examples of such initiatives include OpTecBB, which is an industry cluster bringing together companies and scientific institutions in Berlin and Brandenburg to find innovative and productive ways to enhance optical technologies; or the Hannover Centre for Production Technology (PZH), where organizations of all kinds work and research together under a single roof over an area of 20,000 m²; or the Rhine-Main-Neckar region known as “Europe’s Silicon Valley”; or “Silicon Saxony” in the area around Dresden, which is Europe’s largest network of companies in the semiconductor and micro-systems industry.

There are numerous companies operating in the technology and innovation sector throughout the nation as Germany’s strength lies in this key sector. Nonetheless, there are well developed centers in the west and south of the country in its traditional industrial heartlands of North Rhine- Westphalia and Baden-Württemberg while Cologne is the country’s undeniable leader in media technology.

(1) Cologne

Cologne is generally considered to be Germany’s entertainment capital. It has an impressive depth of expertise in technology and innovation, especially in the media sector. In terms of the production of television programs, the city is by far the nation’s number one. Cologne’s creative and media industry employs around 50,000 people, making it one of the most important economic contributors to the local economy.

The leading companies in the sector, such as BRAINPOOL TV GmbH as well as many sound recording studios, location scouts, casting and theatrical agencies, set designers, props masters, special effects and post-production companies and many other highly specialized companies form an infrastructure that covers the entire array of the audio-visual value chain. The city also has two film schools, the Academy of Media Arts Cologne (KHM) and the privately run International Film School Cologne (ifs), an affiliated franchise of Cologne University of Applied Sciences, providing training for the next generation of filmmakers. In addition the University of Cologne offers training of the highest international talent through its media studies combined degree course.

(2) Stuttgart

The Stuttgart region is one of the European engines of research and development with € 6.5 billion of investment in research and development and 4,750 patent registrations annually. The key sectors of the region include mechanical engineering, automotive construction, electro-mobility, environmental technology, IT and creative industries. 14 regional centers of expertise in high technology effectively connect science and practical application. The city offers meeting places for international experts in the region’s key sectors through hosting world class trade fairs with accompanying congresses such as AMB, Motek, Blechexpo, i-Mobility, IT & Business, BATTERY + STORAGE.


6) Financial Services: Frankfurt

Germany has established itself as an important international center for banking, insurance and stock exchanges. As a key player in the sector, Frankfurt is one of the three financial centers of Europe along with London and Paris and hosts many main events in the sector such as the annual Euro Finance Week. 250+ credit institutions are strategically located in Frankfurt, and those major national and international sector institutions include the European Systemic Risk Board, the Federal Financial Supervisory Authority (BaFin), the Deutsche Bundesbank and, the European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority (EIOPA), in charge of Europe’s pension industry since 2011. Institutions in the city, such as the House of Finance, also offer world class centers of teaching and research.

(1) Frankfurt

Frankfurt is the corporate headquarters of most of the major German financial institutions, and the world’s largest banks are also represented in the city. These financial institutions and banks are supplemented by global commercial law firms, auditing companies and banking associations. Finally, Frankfurt is also home to the German stock exchange, Deutsche Börse AG, which ranks as one of the largest in the world alongside New York, London and Tokyo. The city is also a leader in the sectors of financial research and education. Renowned universities such as the Goethe University and the Frankfurt School of Finance & Management offer a wide selection of degree courses and corresponding scope for scientific work.

Frankfurt offers an excellent selection of event venues and buildings, including the Congress Center, the Frankfurt Festhalle and 10 varied trade fair halls on the Messe Frankfurt trade fair site. These prestigious venues offer sufficient settings for congresses, symposia and other sector events such as Euro Finance Week, the Frankfurt Finance Summit and Frankfurt International Banking Evening. The city also offers an attractive supporting program including guided tours to significant venues in the sector for instance the German stock exchange, Deutsche Bank or the Money Museum of the Bundesbank. In short, “as an international meeting place for executives from the financial industry, commerce and politics, Frankfurt offers excellent facilities for high end congress and conference management and can certainly be considered the international benchmark for the sector.”


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