FX Excursions

FX Excursions offers the chance for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in destinations around the world.

Industry and Global Trade Flourish on the River Main

by Debra Bokur

Dec 19, 2023

PHOTO: ©
SEAN PAVONE | DREAMSTIME.COM

December 2023

PHOTO: © VICHAYA KIATYINGANGSULEE | DREAMSTIME.COM

When film crews wandered through the streets of Frankfurt to generate background shots for the 1960 Elvis Presley film G.I. Blues (Paramount Pictures), it’s unlikely they contemplated Frankfurt’s long and dynamic links to trade and industry. While Presley may have inspired modern dance moves with his hit tune “Frankfurt Special,” taking care of business is nothing new in this riverside city: The roots of commerce are ancient, radiating outward from historic Römerberg Square, a bustling market center that’s become a charming island within a greater landscape of skyscrapers and global trade.

Römerberg is also the address of the Grosser Engel (Great Angel) house. During the 17th century, this centrally located structure became the city’s first bank. Frankfurt’s lengthy relationship with finance has since progressed to its position as the base for the European Central Bank, Deutsche Bundesbank and the German Stock Exchange. Multinational corporations and startups know Frankfurt’s industry-friendly structure is good for business.

“The global tire manufacturer Bridgestone Central Europe moved its headquarters from Bad Homburg to Frankfurt in November last year,” said Ansgar Roese, managing director, Frankfurt Economic Development Corp. “The new premises are located in the St. Martin Tower in the immediate vicinity of the exhibition center. According to the company, the decisive factor for the move to Frankfurt was, in addition to the central location with its transport connections and infrastructure, the changed requirements for a modern workplace. The focus is on ‘working the future.’ For the company, modern work of the future means agility, flexibility, [and] a dynamic environment with the opportunity to shape the future sustainably, long-term and successfully.”

A multitude of major corporations from various industries, including Commerzbank (banking), Deutsche Börse (finance) and the KION Group (technology) are based here. Messe Frankfurt, the world’s principal trade fair and event organizer, also calls Frankfurt home. Among the multitude of events taking place during 2024 on the Messe Frankfurt exhibition grounds is IMEX Frankfurt, to be held in May. Ranked as the largest travel trade show in Europe, IMEX draws meeting planners and suppliers from across the travel industry including cruise lines, airlines, resorts, hotel groups, convention bureaus, technology providers, venue representatives and event management teams. In addition to facilitating connections throughout the industry, this influential show also offers professional education sessions, workshops and seminars.

Travelers heading to the city in January can look forward to Ambiente, a key trade fair showcasing international consumer goods falling within the themes of Dining, Living, Giving and Working. All told, Messe Frankfurt hosted an estimated 340 events across a wide range of industries in 2023. It expects to increase that number during 2024.

“When it comes to the economic power of the individual sectors,” said Roese, “consulting — be it legal, auditing or IT-consulting for different fields — and travel and logistics, which takes up again after Covid, will be the main drivers for employment growth in 2023 and 2024.”

Located in Frankfurt, Lufthansa Aviation Center is the main operations base for Lufthansa, which bears the distinction of being Europe’s largest aviation company. Within the transportation sector, Lufthansa’s hub at Frankfurt Airport is experiencing impressive growth, with 27 gateways opening across the United States and Canada in 2024. These offerings will include increased service to Frankfurt from Austin, Dallas, Orlando and Calgary. SWISS, part of the Lufthansa group, will also have a new connection between Washington, D.C., and Zürich … and to Munich during peak summer season. Lufthansa’s iconic Airbus A330 will begin year-round routes between Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina, and Frankfurt with five weekly flights.

PHOTO: © PIERRE ADEN | DREAMSTIME.COM

Thrust into the American leisure tourism zeitgeist when G.I. Blues was released, the city continues to offer a wealth of downtime options that aren’t to be missed, all of which offer a welcome break from business. A selection of stunning museums positioned along the wide promenade framing the River Main include Städel Museum Old Masters, Deutsches Filmmuseum with its own art house cinema, and the classical sculpture collections on view at Liebieghaus. This summer fans from around the world will fill every corner as Frankfurt Arena becomes the setting for the highly anticipated UEFA (Union of European Football Associations) EURO 2024 competition.

CHECKING IN WITH FLORIAN JÖCKEL
CEO, Massif Central, and President, Guilty76 Racing

PHOTO: © OLGA MAKAROVA

Tell us about Massif Central.
We developed a 26,264-square-foot space that was once Europe’s oldest private bank and transformed it into a creative hub. It’s a space where architecture meets design, politics meet subculture, and street art meets real estate. We show the emotions of sport. Massif Central is the home address of 54 local and international creative companies. It also produces its own fashion trade show and hosts its own conventions, including a gaming convention. Additionally, we produce large-scale street art projects including painting the final meters of the Tour de France and Giro d’Italia international cycling races.

Many people assume Frankfurt is all business and finance. What can you share about the city’s creative, artistic side?
Frankfurt is a wonderful place and has the only skyline in Europe. Of course, business is a focus, but that’s one of the main advantages — along with a highly cultural and educated population. There are 39 museums here. A lot of galleries. Urban projects like Massif Central offer an opportunity for cultural exchanges and exhibitions. The music scene is small but international and well-known. Plus, there are big sporting events and film festivals. My favorite is the Lichter Filmfest, a national institution. And with one of Europe’s largest airports — centrally located and very easy to reach — Frankfurt is the perfect gateway to the rest of the world. Once you find the key to this city, it’s an outstanding place.

PHOTO: © ERIK LATTWEIN | DREAMSTIME.COM

DIVERSIONS
Indelibly connected to Frankfurt’s identity, Apfelwein is available at restaurants and traditional cider pubs throughout the city — particularly in the Sachsenhausen district, where the wine is poured from a stoneware jug called Bembel and served in Gerippte glasses. Regionally, the wine is often enjoyed mixed with lemonade or mineral water, but you’ll want to experience it on its own, freshly pressed and in an unforgettable setting. For exactly that — plus music and some relaxing sightseeing — enjoy a tour aboard Frankfurt’s Ebbelwei-Express (Apple Wine Express). For the hour-long excursion, guests board a vintage tram decorated by artists CM and Estine Estenfelder, commissioned in the 1970s to create their interpretation of a moving cider pub. With the aid of German sign artist Rückert, the tram’s interior and exterior were covered in original art. The newly minted old tram first took to the streets in 1977 and is available today for tours.

Tickets include a stash of pretzels and a choice of cider, apple juice or mineral water. Additional drinks are also available, as well as savory salt pastries. The tour includes the option of listening to an audio guide (available in English) that provides fascinating facts and historical details about each stop along the route. Private, two-hour group bookings can be made. If you find yourself falling in love with the region’s favorite beverage, make plans to come back during the summer to enjoy the annual Frankfurt Apple Wine Festival, held throughout the downtown area along the River Main.

LODGING
Meliá Frankfurt City
Centrally located in Senckenberg close to the trade fairgrounds, this luxury property makes business travelers comfortable with exclusive services, a VIP lounge and 24-hour gym.
Senckenberganlage 13
$$$$

nhow Hotel
Located within the ONE by CA Immo skyscraper at the intersection of the financial district and European Quarter, the hotel offers 375 rooms and eco-friendly features.
Brüsseler Str. 1-3
$$$

Scandic Frankfurt Hafenpark
With a Scandinavian vibe and great selection of meeting and event spaces, this city-center hotel has great views of the River Main plus an on-site gym and wellness area with sauna facilities.
Eytelweinstrasse 1
$$$

DINING
Apfelwein Wagner
This traditional apple wine restaurant in the Sachsenhausen district serves up roasted pork, the city’s famous green herbal sauce and apple cider in a rustic setting.
Schweizer Strasse 71
$$$

Leuchtendroter
Stop by for a deli-style breakfast with fresh-baked breads and pastries, overnight oats and berries, or a mushroom tart with sour cream; or come back to enjoy a creative dinner menu.
Lindleystrasse 17
$$

Oben Restaurant & Skybar
Enjoy great city views from the 15th floor of the One Forty West Tower, along with an excellent selection of wines and a Mediterranean-Spanish- inspired menu by Chef Iñigo Urrechu and Executive Chef Javier Barros.
Meliá Frankfurt City, Senckenberganlage 13
$$$$

COMING AND GOING
U.S. citizens must have a passport valid for at least three months beyond time of visit. A visa is required for stays of more than 90 days; beginning in 2024, U.S. citizens must also have ETIAS (European Travel Information and Authorization System) travel authorization. Travelers must have sufficient proof of funds and a return plane ticket.

OFFICIAL LANGUAGE
German

JUST THE FACTS
Time zone: GMT+2
Phone code: Country code: 49 City code: 69
Currency: Euro
Key industries: Chemicals/pharmaceuticals, financial services, IT/ telecommunications, creative industry and logistics/mobility

INFO TO GO
Frankfurt Airport lies about 9 miles from the city center, with excellent and frequent transportation options. The airport’s regional train station, operated by RMV (Rhein-Main- Verkehrsverbund), offers direct connections to Frankfurt and cities including Hanau, Aschaffenburg, Mainz and Wiesbaden. Long- distance trains operated by German Rail (Deutsche Bahn) provide routes throughout Germany and Europe. There are multiple bus connections between the city and the airport; find stops for city buses opposite Terminal 1 at the arrivals level and at Level 2 in Terminal 2. For long-distance bus services, a station is located at the airport’s P36 bus parking lot. Follow signs from either terminal; signs to bus and train stations are clearly marked through- out the airport. Taxi queues are located at both terminals. You will also find most major car rental agencies represented at the airport, as well as rideshares.

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