16 Jun 2024 World leisure: news, training & property
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Leisure Management
2018 issue 1

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Leisure Management - High flyers


High flyers

Access is vital in unlocking the potential of a tourism destination. Projekt Spielberg, an Austrian leisure destination and airline bmi, joined forces to grow its British audience with the launch of four weekly flights between Birmingham and Graz. Kath Hudson reports

Kath Hudson
Jochen Schnadt
Jochen Schnadt recognises the appeal of an adrenaline-driven adventure playground like Projekt Spielberg for a British audience

Jochen Schnadt
Chief commercial officer, bmi

How did this partnership come about and what does it involve?
Centred around the Red Bull Ring, a Formula One racing track, Projekt Spielberg hosts a number of international events, as well as one-day track experiences with former F1 drivers, such as David Coulthard, a music festival every August. Projekt Spielberg offered great potential, as the management team were keen to build it into a 365-days-a-year adventure playground for adrenaline seekers, with added facilities, such as hotels and restaurants. The UK has the second biggest market for motor sports, so it was a logical partner to work with and a great opportunity for bmi to work with an established brand.

What do you look for when setting up a route?
We look for a strong destination and people to collaborate with who have the right mindset. As two thirds of our customers are business travellers, we look at the businesses within the catchment and their needs to travel from A to B, as well as if they are likely to use the service. There is a big difference between seeing huge potential and successfully unlocking it.

Have you done any joint marketing activity?
This partnership gives us a great opportunity to run joint promotions and social media competitions to drive bmi, Projekt Spielberg and the surrounding Murtal region. We ran a social media competition offering a day return to 10 people for the Austrian Grand Prix. They enjoyed a guided tour, a gourmet meal, met the Red Bull racing coach and had a grandstand ticket for the race. We have also been sharing databases and running features in our in-flight magazine. We will also be promoting the Red Bull Ring as a location for business meetings and incentives.

Do you have any other new routes?
We are always looking for possible new routes. We have just started a route to Nuremberg from Birmingham. People in the UK might not have known much about this city, apart from maybe its unfortunate history as the host to the trials after World War II. However, Playmobil is made there and it is home to the popular theme park Playmobil Fun Park.

About Projekt Spielberg

Centred around the Red Bull Ring, a Formula One racing track nestled between the Styrian Alps, Projekt Spielberg hosts a number of international events, as well as one-day track experiences with former F1 drivers, such as David Coulthard. Boasting decades of motor racing history, all the greats have raced at the Red Bull Ring, including Jochen Rindt, Niki Lauda, Alain Prost and Michael Schumacher. In order to create a year round attraction and broaden the appeal, Projekt Spielberg has invested in a number of ancillary leisure businesses, including spa experiences, gourmet restaurants, luxury hotels and winemaking. Every August it holds a music festival.

Projekt Spielberg has widened its appeal by offering luxury spa and dining experiences, and even a music festival

International events take place at the Red Bull Ring
The power of airlines

Ryanair opened a base at Belfast in March 2016, which has been a significant factor in growing tourism to the Northern Ireland city during the past year. Annual tourism statistics published by the NI Statistics and Research Agency showed tourism spending in the North increased by 11 per cent to £851m (€983m) in 2016. Ryanair will carry 1.3m people to and from Belfast this year on 12 routes, including to the UK, Germany, Spain, Poland and a new route that began in October to Malta

In 2002, before Ryanair began operations there, Milan Bergamo was a tiny airfield with no passenger traffic. Now it is Italy’s third largest airport, carrying almost 12 million people a year. Ryanair accounts for more than 85 per cent of the airport traffic, transporting in excess of 10 million customers to and from 78 routes across Europe, North Africa and the Middle East.


Bergamo has been changed by Ryanair

Originally published in Leisure Management 2018 issue 1

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