BERLIN: Tourism Malaysia can pick up the cues from German tourists' propensity for sports and tailor its marketing strategy to suit their specific desires.
Armed with hard euro currency, Germans do not generally shy of adventure in far-flung shores, Malaysia being one of them.
Nevertheless, like any other tourism community, the Germans also have their peculiar likes and dislikes.
"Sports holidays are destined to become a winning trend," says a spokesperson of the Messe Berlin which organises the annual International Tourism Bourse (ITB) in Berlin, rated as the world's biggest tourism spectacle.
According to the latest survey of the World Travel Monitor, commissioned by ITB Berlin, the last five years saw a double-digit increase in sporting holidays among European tourists, surpassing even the much-liked cruising holidays which, five years ago, ranked ahead of sports holidays.
Germans, in particular, are keenest for sports, and account for 42 per cent of the nine million sports holidays taken by Europeans abroad.
Trailing far behind the Germans are the Dutch who rank second.
In other European markets, sports holidays make up only six per cent or less.
For the sports holidaymakers, the most popular destination is Austria which, among Europeans, attracts 24 per cent of the market followed by Italy and Germany, with each accounting for 11 per cent.
During the last five years, Germans said they preferred Austria also for testing their sporting limits.
At 42 per cent, Austria ranks ahead of Italy (18 per cent) and Switzerland (14 per cent). -- Bernama
Given its scenic landscape dotted by small lanes in the countryside, Malaysia could offer attractive space for hiking which is the most popular activity (38 per cent) for Europeans and bicycle tours (23 per cent).
These are followed at the third rank by motor sports (car, motorcycle and motorboat racing) at 14 per cent.
Given the fact that Malaysia has already paid host to the Formula 1 event, motor sports could be an attractive way to promote tourism traffic from Germany and other European countries.
Another very popular sport is golf for which Malaysia has already excellent courses.
Nine per cent of German sports' holidaymakers prefer golf.
Commenting on the findings of the WTM, Martin Buck, director of the Competence Centre Travel and Logistics at Messe Berlin, said: "Sporting holidays are a niche segment with a serious potential for tourism in the future.
A growing awareness of one's body and mind means that people are increasingly keen to improve their health when on vacation."
The most interesting part of the WTM findings is that sports holidaymakers belong to the wealthier parts of society and, as such, are a very important market segment.
From The Borneo Post