On May 2, ASL Airlines began operating three, entirely new routes from Hamburg to Marseille, Lyon and to Bordeaux from May 5. These destinations in Hamburg Airport’s flight schedule are likely to please both vacationers and business travellers.
Thirteen years in south of France
The direct flights will offer Angela Reverdin Gabriel, Hamburg’s Ambassador to Marseille since 2008, faster and simpler travel. “Certainly, more people will start flying to Hamburg as they no longer lose time or risk long waiting periods in transit. Not many know about the route so far and it should be better advertised.”
After a stint in the U.S., Reverdin Gabriel moved to the south of France in 2003 with her husband who was a diplomat there. Today, Reverdin Gabriel finds it hard to be acknowledged as a German. “Sometimes, I’m even taken for a native. When I say that I grew up in Hamburg, many people do not believe me at first”, she says laughing. She is a board member of Marseille’s Maison Allemande, a non-profit association that promotes German culture. Every two years, there is a citizens’ exchange with the Cluny e.V. association in Hamburg.
Appointed by mayor
The Hamburg Ambassador network was created in 2005 to raise international awareness of Hamburg by promoting new projects and acting as points of contact for those interested in the city. The HWF Hamburg Business Development Corporation, the Senate Chancellery, the Chamber of Commerce Hamburg and Hamburg Marketing GmbH take part in the network. The ambassadors are appointed by the mayor depending on the renown and position of a candidate in the respective country.
Reverdin Gabriel organises visits and exchange programmes, puts business people in contact with each other and plays a key role in implementing cultural projects, among others, between Hamburg and Marseille. She was also part of a team that organised a successful exhibition by Marseille-based designers in HafenCity. “A large part of the population in Marseille is unaware of Hamburg”, she noted, adding, “Once people have arrived, the situation changes immediately. Then they all enthuse about the verdant parks, HafenCity, the hotels and the extraordinary quality of life in the city and the region.”
Meeting in May
Every year in May, the “Hamburg Promoters” meet in the city at a reception given by Mayor Olaf Scholz and are updated first-hand. This year’s meeting will be held from May 9-12 under the theme “Hamburg – Science and Innovation”. Reverdin Gabriel pointed out: “Marseille has a lively start-up scene and greater networking efforts should be made in that sector.”
The opening of the Elbphilharmonie next January is likely to be high on the agenda. Reverdin Gabriel would like a big poster campaign promoting this prestigious event to be launched. “Apart from that, adverts could be placed on the city of Marseille’s web page. Partnerships with Air France and ASL should also be sealed and well-known sports events like the Marseille marathon and the opening promoted.”
Bordeaux, Lyon and Marseille are hosting the European Football Championship in June and July adding to the attractiveness of the new, direct flights.