MÜNSTERLAND. For three months now, the region portal www.muensterland.com has been presented in English and Dutch as well as German. The Münsterland is thus taking a big step in the direction of internationality: tourists and professionals from abroad in particular can now use the portal to find information about the region, get inspired or book trips on more than 2000 sub-pages.
"Multilingualism makes our region more competitive and even more present in the digital space," says Klaus Ehling, board member of Münsterland e.V. "In English, the world language, we can reach many people and also provide extensive information for our direct neighbours in the Netherlands."
Using the website in the different languages is straightforward: The site automatically recognises the language setting in the user's browser and opens in the appropriate language. In addition, a flag symbol can be used to switch between the languages.
The integrated booking system for tourist services is already available in English and Dutch. In the coming months, more and more accommodation descriptions will be added in these languages.
And the demand is there: from 2009 to 2019, the number of foreign guests in Münsterland increased by more than 29 percent in overnight stays and by more than 30 percent in arrivals. "In the ranking of individual countries, a large proportion of these guests come from the neighbouring Netherlands," says Michael Kösters, Head of Tourism at Münsterland e.V. "In figures: Of around 429,000 overnight stays by foreign guests in 2019, 119,328 were accounted for by the Netherlands. At 27.8 per cent, that is already more than a quarter. In addition, there are a large number of Dutch day visitors; for the year 2016, a study determined 4.8 million day trips by Dutch people to Münsterland. Thanks to the website in Dutch, these guests now have a more convenient way of finding inspiration and information and, in the best case, are more likely to decide on a holiday in Münsterland, or to do so more quickly." Kösters adds that individual sights or service providers also benefit from a digital presentation in Dutch. "After all, the region's numerous castles and palaces in particular are a centre of attraction for day trippers and guests from the neighbouring country."
A look at the hits on the website www.muensterland.com shows: Already in the last three months, the number of users from the Netherlands has increased by 120 percent compared to the same period last year. "The goal is to make the website the central information portal for the Münsterland for the Dutch market as well," says Kösters. For the German market, the website is already very present: it recorded 1.3 million page views in the first six months in 2021.
But the business community in Münsterland also benefits from a multilingual regional portal. With the Onboarding@Münsterland service, Münsterland e.V. recruits skilled workers and supports them in their arrival - and has already noticed their need for information about the region in English several times: "Globalisation has made international skilled workers with the necessary know-how increasingly important," says Klaus Ehling. "Many companies from Münsterland need these skilled workers and have indicated to us that arriving in our region is an important factor for many applicants. In order to draw their attention to Münsterland as well and to welcome them in the best possible way, the website in English offers a lot of potential. In this way, international professionals can develop a feel for Münsterland even before they arrive and find out, for example, about housing, leisure opportunities or childcare."
In addition to the website www.muensterland.com, information about the region is now also available in several languages on the Münsterland data portal. The data portal provides tourist information as 'open data' in the form of a database - structured, machine-readable, generally usable and prepared in high quality. Internet sites or apps can access it and integrate the German, English or Dutch texts.
The translations were financed with funds from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the "Palaces and Castles Region Münsterland" funding project initiated by Münsterland e.V. and the four districts and the City of Münster as part of Regionale 2016.
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