P'Chelle Posts

The Germans Get It

Gary A. White, President, P’Chelle International

When it comes to Industrial Tourism the Germans get it. As they have become the masters of building and managing exhibition  facilities and producing world-class trade shows with the precision of industrial engineers, so have they mastered the art of Industrial Tourism, at least the big boys have. In this post, I would like to focus on one big boy in particular, Bayerische Motoren Werke, better known as BMW.

BMW Welt

The heart and soul of  the visitor experience is the  BMW Welt (German word for world), a multi-functional customer experience featuring an event forum, exhibition facility, conference center, retail stores and restaurants. It is strategically located close to  the BMW Plant and the BMW Museum. The BMW Welt hosts more than 50 different events a year, including Brazilian carnival, improvisational theater, Sunday matinees and the finale of the renowned BMW Welt Jazz Awards. Opened in 2007 at BMW headquarters in Munich, BMW Welt welcomes approximately 400,000 visitors a year, becoming one of Bavaria’s top tourism attractions. Guests from around the world enjoy presentations about the latest vehicle model series, combined with interactive exhibits, offering insight into BMW research, development, design and production. This allows visitors to experience the BMW brand and company from virtually every perspective. You can even pick up your brand new BMW automobile while visiting the BMW Welt, approximately 100 people do so every day.

In an effort to build their brand with young people, there is the BMW Welt’s Junior Campus, a comprehensive and exciting program designed especially for potential future customers. It allows them to explore the automotive world in a highly creative and participatory way, such as trying their hand at being an engineer or designer.

Opening hours for the BMW Welt are daily from 9 am – 6 pm. Admission is free. Additional information can be found at www.bmw-welt.com/en.

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A Unique Economic Development Model

Gary A. White, President, P’Chelle International

In this, the very first P’Chelle Post, I would like to explore a relatively unique and little used economic development model (Industrial Theme Parks)  that builds on more established concepts (Industrial Clusters and Industrial Tourism). Let’s begin.

Industrial Clusters

Since Michael E. Porter published his economic development classic, The Competitive Advantage of Nations in 1990 the concept of clusters has taken front and center stage in many economic development circles. Porter defines clusters as groups of interconnected firms, suppliers, related industries, and institutions that arise in particular locations.  That sums it up relatively well. Porter uses the carpet producers in Dalton, Georgia; the mobile home producers in Elkhart, Indiana and minicomputer companies in Boston, Massachusetts as examples. These are all Industrial Clusters focusd on manufacturing. Clusters change, some for the better, some not. Detroit, Michigan, once the home to the world’s best known automotive cluster,  is often used as an example of a cluster that has changed for the worse.  Today, the hot automotive clusters in North America are located in the Southeastern United States and Mexico, with a spattering in Canada (a true NAFTA industry). The U.S. wine industry is an interesting example of cluster evolution. No doubt  California’s Napa Valley is the big grape on the vine, but it is being viciously attacked by “guerrilla clusters” in the Willamette Valley in Oregon, the Walla Walla Valley in Washington and the Finger Lakes Region in New York State. Read more..

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