The Corona pandemic has hit the tourism industry hard; the crisis has also caused deep cuts in Upper Bavaria. But at the same time, despite – or perhaps because of – the crisis, local people have shown courage, developed creative concepts and a pioneering spirit, and demonstrated a great deal of personal commitment. The success stories from Upper Bavaria are about an innovative start-up that makes hotel subscriptions bookable for new target groups, a young brewer who is not discouraged despite event cancellations and closed restaurants, a traditional business that moves with the times, and many other “tourism heroes” in Upper Bavaria who encourage others with their commitment.
“All these protagonists show that tourism is fit for the future,” says Oswald Pehel from Tourismus Oberbayern München (TOM) e.V. “For many, Corona is also a creativity and innovation hotbed, but also an accelerator for many developments. Crises are also mastered by taking new paths and not just relying on aid and subsidies.”
With pink against the pandemic
Elisabeth Schwojer courageously faces the challenges of the pandemic period in Miesbach. Her café Elisabeth’s Platzerl has been a popular meeting place in the Upper Bavarian district town since 2012: breakfast, lunchtime snack, coffee and cake – the Miesbacher:innen felt completely at home in the café’s bright pink ambience. Then Corona came, the guests were no longer allowed in and power woman and tourism hero Elisabeth Schwojer unceremoniously put out the pink refrigerator, filled with drinks and delicious home-cooked dishes in hygienic jars. Soup, salads and delicious ice cream have been selling like hot cakes ever since. In the meantime, the café business has also started up again, and as a purely family-run operation: the “Fensterl” is open daily from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m., from which Elisabeth and her daughters Magdalena and Anna offer coffee specialties and other delicacies for outdoor enjoyment on colorful benches. “The pandemic has given us an opportunity to rethink things and try new things,” says Elisabeth Schwojer.
Hotel room instead of second home
Corona has forced some tourism professionals to give up; Kilian Ricken and his two comrades-in-arms at the Munich-based startup MyFlexHome only came up with their new business idea as a result of the crisis and started their own business in August 2021 as career changers in the tourism sector. In line with the new hybrid working world with more home offices and less presence in the office, the three founders have developed a brokerage platform for customized hotel subscriptions, which will be launched in mid-February with the first ten hotels in Munich. The idea with which MyFlexHome also won the start-up competition “Start?Zuschuss!” of the Bavarian Ministry of Economic Affairs: Employees can book overnight stays in a hotel for the necessary office days at a constant price instead of paying a monthly rent and taxes for a second home. “We experienced this ourselves in 2020 in our circle of friends, that more and more people prefer to live in the countryside and only want to go to the office in the city for individual days. We make this possible at a reasonable price and with a special service,” explains co-founder Kilian Ricken. “Hotels also benefit, because they can thus at least partially compensate for the decline in business travel.”
Experience Tegernsee anew
Events in Corona times? Difficult. But hotelier Korbinian Kohler from the SPA & RESORT Bachmair Weissach at Tegernsee is reacting to the massive slump in the event business not by retreating, but with a bold “Now more than ever!” and an innovative concept idea: In the summer of 2022, he wants to start with “Tegernsee fantastic” an “extraordinary edutainment highlight of the world class”, which wants to bring the habitat Tegernsee with its culture and its traditions in all its diversity closer to big and small visitors in a playful way. On 2,700m2 there is to be a world of experience, which makes it possible to experience Lake Tegern as a unique destination with lovingly designed learning stations and active offers.
Hotel manager as the director of change
In the 115 years of its existence, the Tannerhof has already survived crises several times and not infrequently reinvented itself a bit. The Corona pandemic was also seen as an opportunity for renewal by the dedicated team around Burgi von Mengershausen and Roger Brandes. Since 2004, the two have been managing the Naturhotel in Bayrischzell and are also tourism heroes. Brandes also sees himself as an agent for change. “Even though 9 months of lockdown was an emotional, exhausting roller coaster – we wanted to use that time to make creative and structural improvements, so we were finally able to do our apprentice project.” This included not only the “undisturbed” familiarization at the reception, but also the establishment of a new fish dog stand in front of the Schlierseer fishery and many other tasks. In general, the Tannerhof has positioned itself so well with its concept as a cool mountain village that combines fasting, health, spa, food and pleasure that there is at least no lack of booking requests. Skilled workers are also welcome here and find an attractive workplace with the best prospects.
Brewer with vision
For Max Vetter from Oberbergkirchen, too, the start of the pandemic initially came as a shock. Together with friends, he wanted to realize his dream and build his own brewery, and the plans had already been drawn up. Then the competitors jumped off, but the 31-year-old brewer was not deterred from his path. Under the umbrella of the Gut Forsting cooperative brewery, Max Vetter launched his own Innbräu beer and now whirls between production, marketing and sales seven days a week – not infrequently 16 hours a day. Despite the current difficult situation in the hospitality industry, the young entrepreneur succeeds with a lot of personal commitment and creative ideas to convince restaurateurs of his product and to take it into the bar. And regional beverage retailers are also increasingly acquiring a taste for the Innbräu beers, which now number four. Max Vetter’s goal is clear: “I don’t have to deliver to Hamburg or Berlin, I want my beer to be drunk here in the region.”