Hilton Head hosts German travel agents to promote international tourism

gmartin@islandpacket.comNovember 7, 2011 

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A group of 82 German travel agents left Beaufort County on Monday after spending three days touring attractions and learning about Lowcountry culture.

Their accommodations were financed in part by the Hilton Head Island-Bluffton Chamber of Commerce, which spent about $15,000 to promote international tourism.

"Germany is number two behind the United Kingdom in terms of the number of foreign tourists we see each year," said Jack Reed, director of sales for the Hilton Head Island Visitor and Convention Bureau. "We're looking to increase that."

The visitors, from an agency called Meier's Weltreisen, were divided into four groups, each with a different focus: Hilton Head history, Bluffton history, environmentally responsible businesses, and local cuisine.

The group left Monday for similar tours of the Myrtle Beach area.

According to Reed, the Germans enjoyed a variety of daily activities, both outdoors and indoors -- visiting the Hilton Head Art Institute and the Penn Center, for example.

"Some of them got to hear dolphins," said Reed, explaining that those who visited the Waddell Mariculture Center in greater Bluffton listened to aquatic activity using underwater microphones. "They thought that was pretty neat."

Jennifer Ehrig, one of the travel agents, said German tourists would particularly like the availability of recreational activities around Hilton Head.

"The combination of beach time, tennis, kayaking and swimming is something Germans would really go for," Ehrig said. "We like being outside."

Asked what she liked most about the tour, Ehrig had a ready response.

"The seafood, absolutely. Everything's so fresh."

Follow reporter Grant Martin at Twitter.com/LowCoBiz.

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