Is Outdoor the Future of Meetings? Hamburg Thinks So

8th Jul, 2020

With restaurants and bars spreading on the streets’ terrasses, Europe is trying to come back to some sort of normal summerish lifestyle after the lockdown. It could be a lesson for the MICE industry, especially when it comes to incentives that can take enormous advantages from this time of the year.

An example are the initiatives supported by the city of Hamburg, in Germany.

“I believe we'll now see a swing towards outdoor and nature-focused incentives,” said Florian Gerdes, marketing manager of conventions at Hamburg Convention Bureau. “Our enforced break from modern life has been a chance for us to rediscover the power of nature and reconsider our environmentally damaging way of life. Outside our windows, in our own streets and cities, the natural environment has thrived. My hope is that people have now experienced first-hand the benefits of this contact with nature and want this to be a long-term fixture in their daily lives.”

As meeting and event restrictions were eased in Hamburg on the 1st of July, outdoor events are now allowed to host up to 1,000 people.

The bureau is putting the spotlight on outdoor incentives, like kitesurfing, hiking or picnicking in Europe's biggest orchard. Their aim is to reconnect people with nature and it might be the first of a new trend.

Options include:

  • Journey to Neuwerk Island by walking across the mudflats or by taking a Wattwagen, a horse-drawn carriage especially adapted to travel the 12km distance across the mudflats of the Wadden Sea, a UNESCO World Heritage site;
  • Kite surf school at Fehmarn, one of Germany's most popular Baltic Sea islands;
  • Trip to the Altes Land region, with more than 15 million apple, cherry and plum trees blossoming each year, described as Europe's largest orchard;
  • Two wheels to the Elbe cycle path, following the great river from its source to where it joins the North Sea at Cuxhaven;
  • A spa experience walking barefoot through the Lüneburg Heath Barefoot Park, the first nature park in Germany and one of the largest nature parks of its kind

As per German government regulations, the minimum distance of 1.5 metres between any two people at an event continues to apply and large-scale events with more than 1,000 attendees remain prohibited until the end of October.

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