The funding programs are intended to revive the economy and culture after the crown bloc. But how good are the concepts really?
In the symbolism of color, blue stands for strength, reliability and trust. Maybe that’s why Franziska Giffey (43, SPD) wore a blue trouser suit and blue shoes on Monday when she announced her departure for business and culture.
Because after two years of pandemic and crisis, the capital should finally start again! In the Hall of Coats of Arms of the Red Town Hall, the Mayor in office presented the programs “Restart the Economy” and “Prospective Culture”. According to Giffey, the goal: “Send the signal: strong economy, good work”.
The two programs have a two-year duration and foresee an expenditure of 330 million euros. They target sectors particularly affected by Corona: retail, event planners, culture, hotel industry, crafts and gastronomy. 30 projects designed to give relief to companies and increase their business.
“These are measures that really help do exactly what industries really need,” promises Giffey. Senator for economics Stephan Schwarz (56, independent): “After two years of crisis, we are now moving forward.”
►The Berlin tourism industry expects higher occupancy rates at Easter
► Retail trade grows in Berlin and Brandenburg – Gastro at a loss
However, not all 30 measures in the program are completely new: the “eat!” it already existed, as did the annual “Live your city” campaign (Berliners can sleep in hotels at reasonable prices). “Now we have grouped them and adapted them for the restart,” Schwarz told the BZ. “They have a new quality”.
The Dehoga Hotel and Restaurant Association was impressed with the program and praises a better relationship between politics, business and society. “The novelty is that people listen”, said the president of the association Christian Andresen (56). Now is the time to look forward again. “And that’s what this program needs.”
► Exemption from special usage fees for gastronomy, showmen, organizers
Berlin restaurateurs eagerly awaited this news: the Senate suspends the collection of taxes for the special use of road land in 2022! This measure not only benefits bars and restaurants, it should also benefit organizers and showmen. Districts are reimbursed for loss of income.
► Marketing campaign for potential Berlin tourists
The appeal of the Berlin brand has not been affected by the pandemic, but the Senate does not want to rely only on good image. “To revive tourism in Berlin and bring visitors to the city at short notice, a high level of visibility for Berlin should be generated,” states the “Restart Economy” program. Online and outdoor advertising and collaboration with Deutsche Bahn will start in April in Europe. Objective: “Establish Berlin as a place of nostalgia for city holidays”. 2.2 million euros to invest.
► Air cooperation
In an international comparison, BER’s range of airlines and destinations is still very sparse. In order for things to change (and for more tourists and congress visitors to arrive), Visitberlin wants to “increase the visibility of Berlin as a travel destination”. Means: Airlines are courted to head to BER. A lot of money is often paid for this (“marketing scholarship”). But things don’t always go as planned: US airline United wanted to start the Berlin-Washington route in late May. It has now been postponed indefinitely, apparently for “geopolitical reasons”.
► Bring new fairs to the Spree
At the beginning of the year, the Senate was able to announce the return of the Premium fashion show to the capital. Contracts for another fair have just been signed and will be announced shortly. If not, the Senate urges the trade fair company to think more digitally and establish new event formats in Berlin. The whole city earns money from trade shows, as exhibitors and visitors generate sales in the hotel.
► Acquisition of new events / conventions
Tourists alone do not guarantee that the hotels are full: this is guaranteed above all by large congresses with hundreds or even thousands of participants from all over the world. Taxi drivers and fine dining also benefit
such events. A congress fund is intended to “support and encourage” the organizers to transfer their conferences to the capital. However, other cities also have the same goal, which is why Berlin pays the organizers a whopping 60 euros per participant! The Senate wants to make nine million euros available for the congress fund. Event organizers “who meet certain sustainability criteria” can expect higher funding.
► Financial injections for clubs
In Berlin clubs you can finally dance again, but the organizers are far from doing well. Not a single club had to close due to Corona, but two years without revenue were tough despite liquidity support. The Senate wants to help with start-up funding for programs and investments that haven’t been made.
► support the music industry
The music and events industries have also suffered from the pandemic. For two good years there were hardly any concerts. What megastars can cope with financially, but not record companies (who need gigs for marketing) and all kinds of service providers. Therefore, the sector event “Most Wanted: Music” (8-10 November in the Kulturbrauerei) will be expanded. Also to be strengthened is the “Music Ambassadors” program, which promotes international networking in the music industry.
► Small business investment bonus
An investment bonus is intended to support the economy of small and medium-sized enterprises and freelancers. Good for anyone who has postponed operational investment due to the pandemic. And this is where the Senate digs deep into his pockets: subsidies go up to 35 percent! An information (digital) event on the IHK bonus will be held on 6 April. Applications begin a day later on the Investitionsbank Berlin website. The program is mainly aimed at artisans, restaurateurs and retailers.
► Shopping weeks
Most tourists not only leave Berlin with a few souvenirs in their luggage, but also with tons of shopping bags. For many, shopping is an essential part of a city trip (we Berliners are no different on vacation). This secures tens of thousands of retail jobs in the capital. Business is slowly picking up speed, but that’s not enough. Many retailers are in dire need of more tourists willing to spend. With weeks of shopping and seasonal campaigns, the Senate wants to attract more tourists to Berlin.
► Targeted advertising for gourmets
Foodies are an increasingly important target group in tourism marketing. So people for whom good food is almost more important than sights or nightlife. This is why the Senate wants the gastronomic event to “eat! support berlin more, then promote the “culinary capital”. The realignment of the festival should also serve to ensure skilled workers: After two years of the pandemic, many restaurants are struggling with a shortage of workers as previous employees have sought new jobs outside the restaurant sector.
► Berlin Book Festival
Berlin publishers complain about the lack of an event where they can present themselves to German and international audiences. A “Berlin Book Festival” with stands and readings is meant to change things. However: such a book festival is not a new idea, it already existed in the capital (for example in 2008).