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The Moselle – made for tourism

The Moselle valley has everything it takes to draw visitors – majestic landscape, a rich natural environment, some picturesque villages … and vineyards, a guaranteed hit with tourists in all wine-producing countries. The Regional Tourist Office is well aware of this and has recently made changes to provide the entire Moselle region with the best possible service.

The coronavirus outbreak will not last forever. Soon, tourists and curious Luxembourgians will return to enjoy all the good things the Moselle has to offer, so it is essential to continue efforts to promote local heritage and raise awareness of it. 

Tourism on the Moselle is coordinated by the Regional Tourist Office (ORT), an entity set up in March 2011. While the organisation’s logo was repeatedly tweaked in subsequent years, it has now been given a well-needed overhaul to bring it right up to date. This brand-new visual identity comes with a raft of new tools compatible with all media, and in particular, a host of pictograms providing an easy way of flagging messages posted on social media. 

The new concept was unveiled in March, a rebrand most visibly reflected in a change of name. ORT Luxembourg Moselle Regional Tourist Office has now simply become “Visit Moselle”. The term Miselerland associated with the LEADER programme under which the ORT was set up was occasionally used in connection with the organisation, but has now been dropped.

“This is not just a change of logo,” explains Gilles Estgen, president of the ORT. We completely overhauled the concept with the emphasis on consolidating our image and on clear identification.” The term Miselerland was only understood by people from a certain linguistic background, while the ORT was now seeking to extend its focus to a more international customer base. The new logo Visit Moselle echoes Visit Luxembourg, Visit Schengen and Visit Remich, with standardisation giving greater credibility to the region’s offering.

After all, whatever name is given to the ORT, the main aim is to optimally promote the region’s attractions to any tourists potentially interested in exploring the valley and its foreland. “The current trend in global tourism is for quality tourism focused on the notion of well-being,” says Gilles Estgen. “More and more tourists are seeking a relaxing break from their increasingly stressful everyday lives.”

All attendance figures are on the rise

It just so happens that the Moselle has a lot to offer in this specific area, in particular the Mondorf spa and hotel complex, which ticks all the right boxes. “But that’s not all,” smiles the president of the ORT. We also have some magnificent landscape, nature reserves (editor’s note: Stromberg and Grouf in Schengen, Kuebendällchen in Wintrange, Haff Réimech in Remerschen, Palmberg in Ahn, Manternacher Fels in Manternach), varied hiking trails and, of course, a host of activities relating to wine tourism, which are always a hit with visitors. It’s not biased to say that our region offers Luxembourg’s most diverse range of tourist attractions.”

And people certainly seem to be realising this, with an upward trend in all visitor figures. Last year, counting stations set up on the three “Dream Loop” hiking trails mentioned in Vinorama no. 3 (see www.vinorama.lu), recorded 6,332 walkers on the Manternacher Fels route, 2,730 on the Schengen route, and 2,416 around Ahn.

Further evidence that tourists are snapping up services offered to them can be seen in the number of tours conducted by ORT guides, which increased from 31 in 2018 to 63 in 2019, prompting the number of walkers to double (from 665 in 2018 to 1,349 in 2019). It is therefore clear that all the hard work is paying off.

Although the region has multiple natural assets promoting tourism and tempting visitors to explore it for a few days, Gilles Estgen reveals one major stumbling block – the lack of accommodation. “Although we do have a few dynamic hoteliers and a very nice youth hostel, it’s not enough,” he laments. “For instance, unusual accommodation types are all the rage at the moment, but we don’t have any to offer. It’s a shame…” However, this item is on the agenda and talks are under way, so it’s not inconceivable that change is coming soon.

And we can rest assured that once the pandemic is over, visitors will flock to the Moselle driven by a desire to unwind in a rural setting – naturally with a good glass of wine in hand!

"Tourism accounts for 6 to 8% of our GDP"

The figures say it all – tourism plays a far from insignificant role in the national economy. Lex Delles, Minister for Tourism, is therefore working on implementing tools to promote it.

How important is tourism to the Luxembourgian economy?

Lex Delles: Depending on the definition used, tourism accounts for 6 to 8% of our GDP. That’s a lot higher than many people think! Luxembourg is an innovative country offering multiple benefits for visitors and our job is to promote this image to as many people as possible. Naturally, it is also essential for us to develop our offering. I always say that investing in tourism amounts to investing in residents’ quality of life. A souvenir shop may sell other items and be of use to the community. The more restaurants there are, the more choice residents have – there are no shortage of examples!

What role should the Moselle play in Luxembourg’s tourism industry?

My aim is to encourage people to visit the whole country rather than splitting it into regions. If you live here, an hour’s journey is a lot, but it’s nothing to a tourist! Ideally, people coming to explore the capital and its UNESCO-listed heritage will also visit the Moselle, the Müllerthal, the north of the country and the steel industry heritage sites in the south. We must do our utmost to promote this diversity to visitors.

How will the new Visit Moselle concept contribute to this?

It is important for the region to identify with a shared brand image. It would make no sense for each village to have its own brand bearing no relation to what is going on around it and with no common objectives. Obviously, we’re not asking people to relinquish their identities! This new concept will merely help spread the word about the Moselle as a tourist destination both in Luxembourg and abroad.

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