Bonn StattReisen and Bonn City Tours are breaking new ground. Historical tours, walks through the Old Town and other themed tours are now being offered via Zoom. They bring Bonn to people who can't be out on location.
Discover Bonn from the comfort of your own sofa. In these times of living through the pandemic with months of contact restrictions, city tourism is taking a new approach. Whereas people used to go from place to place to find the most interesting corners of the city or hear the most exciting stories, historical tours are now available online. The StattReisen association and Bonn City Tours now take their guests on historical walks virtually. So you can sit in the comfort and warmth of your own home and walk in the footsteps of Beethoven without any effort. Or you can learn exciting things about conspiracy theories during the period when Bonn was hit with the plague and cholera.
"Actually, I was just looking for a way for my regular customers to remember me and rescue my small company at the same time," explains Daniel Friesen, young entrepreneur and founder of Bonn City Tours. Initially, he had developed so-called "Culture Gigs" for Telekom, which were presented there to employees and business partners. The success was so overwhelming that Friesen expanded this new offer to include all customers.
"The virtual tours started as a temporary solution for the winter lockdown. In the meantime, however, they have also opened up new prospects for me in the long term," says the 30-year-old. That's because it's a way to reach even those who can’t be on location, he adds. "For example, those who want to get information in advance of a trip, or those who come to the city for studies or a new job and want to get a first impression," says Friesen. He currently has three tours on offer: a classical city tour, one centered around Beethoven, and another leading into the government district. The walks have already been recorded, and Friesen comments live on the various meeting points, answering and responding directly to questions from viewers who are tuned in live.
The StattReisen association is also moving from the streets to the web. At the end of March, for the first time, the Night Watchman Tour of Bonn will be on Zoom. To join the tour online, participants receive an e-mail with their booking containing a link that they can use to connect to the tour. "We are really very pleased, the demand is good," says Norbert Volpert. For the tour to happen, the city guide walks through Bonn with a cameraman at the same time as the broadcast. "It is important to us that we present an authentic atmosphere," says Volpert. Although everyone involved had to get used to the new medium during the first trial runs, "we were very surprised at how it was possible to have intensive and close encounters. Our viewers are always there, they can watch, listen and ask questions. So they don't have to miss out on any Bonn experience and are right in the middle of it."
StattReisen currently offers a total of four virtual tours. In addition to two Night Watchman tours, there are "Mysterious Bonn" and "Between Platform 11 and Office 99”. In April, it's "Matricula, Marx and Magnificence". The cherry blossoms in Bonn's Old Town are not forgotten either. And even if the streets behind the Stadthaus (town hall) should be closed to crowds of visitors, as was the case last year, StattReisen will present this unique wonder of nature on the web.
"My virtual walking tours are more successful than I thought," Friesen says, taking stock. "But the income is not enough to at least cover the costs." He wishes he had more support: "The November (government) aid didn't arrive until the end of February, and the bureaucracy is hard to manage alone. Without the support of my family, I wouldn't have survived as a young entrepreneur.”
After registration, one receives a link to the event
Anyone interested in an online tour will find a list of dates on the providers' website. After registration, interested parties receive a link to the corresponding event by e-mail.
(Orig. text: Gabriele Immenkeppel / Translation: Carol Kloeppel)