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Hanover: The City, its inhabitants, its infrastructure and the Expo 2000 GmbH

Hanover is said to be boring and unattractive. In fact, this is not at all true. It is true, however, that Hanover, represented by its administration, its Tourism Office and whoever else might be responsible, does invest little in public relations. So it comes to no surprise, that the rest of Germany, Europe and the world is, on visiting Hanover, surprised by the diversity and beauty of all the "hidden" attractions.

During my visits to the EXPO 2000 I asked many of the employees of the foreign pavilions and booths if they have any knowledge about Germany in general or about Hanover itself. Up to June 20 2000, after 20 days of EXPO 2000 in Hanover, a lot of those asked had been to Berlin, Hamburg or Heidelberg but basically no one had taken a closer look to the city of Hanover! News from August 8, 2000: Even EXPO 2000 press spokeswoman Mrs Wiebke Bruhns, after denouncing Hanover in the media as having no profile and thus being responsible for the lack of visitors to the EXPO 2000, has revised her unjustified judgement. Major Herbert Schmalstieg had advised her a guided tour of Hanover and thus accompanied by two leading officials Wiebke Bruns had to discover that Hanover has a lot to offer to visitors BESIDES the EXPO 2000.

Why is it, that nobody has thought about a way to spread the knowledge about the beautiful spots and touristic attractions of Hanover and its surrounding landscape to the employess at the EXPO 2000. It doesn't take, lest cost, much to hand out little brochures and maps to the pavilion and booth staff to give them an idea what they can see and do in the area itself during their leisure time, plus this would have a multiplying effect: Staff asked by visitors what there is worth seeing would all of a sudden be able to answer in favour of Hanover instead of referring to towns and areas in the rest of Germany. If the City of Hanover or the EXPO 2000 would need a sponsor for these brochures, it could possibly ask the "Fahrvergnuegen-Clan" in Wolfsburg. They transformed the old Telekom radio tower at the Raschplatz into a huge advertising pillar and maybe they have a little money left over for another advertising campaign!

I had to read in the local press, that a leading officer of the EXPO company had started a public fight with the City of Hanover by announcing that it does invest too little in public relations. A statement that forced the City to dement harshly. As an inhabitant of Hanover I wonder if it wouldn't be wiser and more effective if the EXPO company and the City worked together to make such an event as the EXPO 2000 a success!

Hanover suffers, as most towns do, from chronical lack of money. But nevertheless it is a lovely city worth living in. Nowadays, however, this isn't enough: To attract tourists, a town must advertise. And to become and stay attractive to tourists a town must first decide about a tourist concept. Then it must engage in respective activities before it finally can advertise its attractiveness.

The german railroad company DB (Deutsche Bahn): In my opinion the behavior of the german railroad company towards the inhabitants of Hanover is typical for any monopolist. First, all of the inhabitants of Hanover and its surroundings are tormented by the long reconstruction and modernization of the Main Train Station without any reduction of fares and once the modernization is completed the DB charges 24,- DM extra to incoming and outgoing travellers: Isn't that really customer friendly and last but not least really EXPO 2000 friendly? Oh, I forgot: If you buy your EXPO 2000 ticket from the DB itself you get really phenomenal prize reductions in the transportation to the EXPO 2000 as well. So really the only ones suffering are the people of Hanover and the surrounding area.

The EXPO GmbH: The poor EXPO Company! Nobody gets the purpose of its actions and nobody really likes her. And why should anybody do so? All of its little scandals in the past (CEO's coming and going, etc.) have not yet been forgotten and the theme parks are not worth the amount of money they cost. Its website is really nice but it takes forever to load it (I do have ISDN!). Side-long mails from abroad concerning our Pitbull and Co. problem and other non-EXPO related topics as well as simply advertisings are published in its guestbook, but my mail from this URL doesn't show up! The only one I feel sympathy for is Mrs Breuel, who gets blamed for all the mismanagement and misdecisions performed and taken by the people working for the EXPO GmbH in all hierarchies.

The hotels: Our hotel CEO's and their companies seem to have believed that all the visitors to the EXPO 2000 are members of some billioneers' club. I mean surely some really rich people will come to the EXPO 2000, but the average visitor is a family member and as such not able to afford the often more than pricy hotel fares. Hearing from some hotels that they have reduced their fares by 50 % will hopefully be an encouragement to other hotels to be more reasonable as well.

The Üstra (tram and bus company): Our public transportation system in Hanover is well trained to manage the EXPO 2000 due to big fairs like the CeBit and the Hanover Fair. The Üstra has developed a system to transport a large number of people (100,000 - 200,000) in a short period of time to and from the fairgrounds. For the EXPO 2000 new lines have been build and the trams have 3 to 4 cars. The transportation to the EXPO 2000 grounds is very comfortable and doesn't take long. The fact that the tram fare is included in the EXPO 2000 ticket (also available in the subway station of the Main Train Station!) was reached by long negotiations and is a fundamental signpost that the region Hanover is living the Theme of the EXPO 2000 Human-Nature-Technologie. Good job, keep it up!

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