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Frequently Asked Questions about the Passion Play

Why is the Passion Play in Oberammergau, Germany so important?
When does it take place?
When do we need to start planning our Passion Play tour?
When is the first deposit due?
Where is Oberammergau?
What is included in the Passion Play "package"?
What is GTD's history in organizing Passion Play Tours?
How is the play performed?
Will I understand the play since it's performed in German?
What is the theater like?
Is the play better for some religious groups than for others?
How can I learn more about the Oberammergau Passion Play?
Will my tour emphasize religion and spirituality or will it focus more on sightseeing and shopping?
I'm not sure which GTD itinerary would be best for my group.
What other destinations should I include in my Passion Play tour?
How can I set my Passion Play tour apart from all the others being promoted?
What is a GTD Custom Tour?
How many people are needed for an Oberammergau tour?
What can I do to convince people to register for our tour at such an early date?
What is the weather like in Europe at that time?
What types of hotels are used?
What airlines are used?
I'm concerned about getting the travel dates I want for my tour.
Will the cost be higher than my last European tour?
What is the next step to get started?


Why is the Passion Play in Oberammergau, Germany so important?
A "passion play" is a performance that depicts the Passion of Jesus Christ from his entrance into Jerusalem through his Resurrection.  The Oberammergau holy play began as fulfillment of a promise by villagers who were spared from the bubonic plague in 1634.  The entire village has devotedly produced its Passion Play every decade for nearly four hundred years.  Though no outside professional actors are allowed to participate in the play, it is nonetheless internationally acclaimed for its consistently excellent presentation.

"Attending the Passion Play amidst the majesty of the Bavarian Alps
fulfilled one of my life’s dreams." (Passion Play Tour Participant)

When does it take place?
The performances begin on May 15 and end October 3, 2010. 

During the Passion Play season, over 500,000 people will attend the play.  Considering that Oberammergau is a village of only 5,000 inhabitants, this is utterly amazing and underscores the play’s importance to Christians world-wide.

When do we need to start planning our Passion Play tour?
The time is NOW to begin planning your tour! Because demand will be so high, deposited requests for space will take precedence over late-comers.

When is the first deposit due?
Once you have decided to host a Passion Play tour, the Passion Play Committee requires a deposit of $150-200 per person to secure tickets.  This deposit will be applied to the tour cost.  In the event the Committee cannot confirm your request (or a reasonable substitute of dates), the money will be refunded in whole.

Where is Oberammergau?
Oberammergau is situated in the Bavarian Alps, 60 miles southwest of Munich. The theater in which the play is performed stands in a meadow at the far end of the village, near the railway station.

Map of Oberammergau

What is included in the Passion Play "package"?
Admission tickets to the play are purchased in packages.  The packages include:  one or two nights accommodation and all meals during the stay. 

There is very limited availability of the one-night packages, as they are only offered for one performance per week.  Additionally, Saturday’s performance is performed as “play only” and these tickets are reserved for local attendees.

GTD does not offer Passion Play packages separately; they are available only through purchase of the tour.

What is GTD's history in organizing Passion Play Tours?
GTD is well acquainted with the Play and its logistics when it comes to tour planning.  We have organized Passion Play tours for every Passion Play season since the 1984 special anniversary season; 2010 will be GTD’s fourth Passion Play season.

In addition, GTD is at home in Germany due to the many Martin Luther-focused tours we have arranged for our clients, as well as the long-standing relationships we have with our German tour partners.  In 2000, GTD organized over twenty-five Passion Play tours.  All of this experience adds up to providing you with a first-rate tour, one in which every consideration of all aspects of the tour has been made.

How is the play performed?
The play is produced and performed by over 2,000 local actors, musicians and stage technicians, all of whom are residents of the village of Oberammergau.* 

The play comprises spoken dramatic text, musical and choral accompaniment and tableaux vivants, in German (programs in English are available), over a total of seven hours, which includes a three-hour intermission for dinner.

*To be considered an Oberammergau resident, you need to have either been born in Oberammergau or lived there at least twenty years.

Will I understand the play since it's performed in German?
"It was certainly easy. You know the story already and are provided with the English translation. It was well acted and enjoyable." --Passion Play Participant
A program of the entire play is provided in English.

What is the theater like?
The open-air theater is modern in construction, covered, with bench seating for about 5,000. The play takes place rain-or-shine during its May through October season.

Is the play better for some religious groups than for others?
The Passion Play is suited to anybody who follows the path of Jesus and/or finds meaning in a historic theatrical performance. Though the villagers are overwhelmingly Catholic, there is no particular religious denomination associated with the play.


How can I learn more about the Oberammergau Passion Play?
Check out the play's official website:
The play's official website
Good information is also available at Wikipedia's website:
Wikipedia article

Will my tour emphasize religion and spirituality or will it focus more on sightseeing and shopping?
All of our tours are customized to fit the desire of the group.  We can provide the emphasis you and your travelers desire.  GTD will work with you to achieve the right balance of spirituality, sightseeing and shopping for your group.

I'm not sure which GTD itinerary would be best for my group.
Our expert Group Travel Specialists will assist you in finding the right match for your group.  In determining your itinerary, ask yourself the following questions:

1.   Have your potential tour members been to Europe before?  If so, you may consider an itinerary that concentrates on a smaller geographic area, rather than a tour that covers several countries.
2.   Is your tour group affiliated with a particular religious denomination?  GTD offers itineraries that match various groups' religious heritage and mission.
3.   Does your tour group have a specific purpose outside of viewing the Passion Play?  Certain performing groups (choirs and supporters' groups, for example) may consider combining a performing tour with attendance of the Passion Play.

What other destinations should I include in my Passion Play tour?
Our expert Group Travel Specialists will assist you in finding the right match for your group. Click
here to view the itinerary we are recommending for 2010 Passion Play travelers.

How can I set my Passion Play tour apart from all the others being promoted?
It’s true that your travelers have a multitude of options should they want to travel to Oberammergau or anywhere else in the world for that matter.  However, travelers usually choose a tour based on a few factors that are really in your favor:

Camaraderie and friendships – often travelers will select a tour based strictly on who is traveling with them and/or the group leader
Special features of the tour – GTD will help you create a tour that offers special touches, special events or experiences that are not duplicated in other tours.  Over the years GTD has developed contacts with churches, schools and other organizations throughout Europe.  There are many ways your tour participants can interact with members of local communities and add purpose and depth to your tour.  GTD will provide insights to accomplish this.
Experience – GTD’s exceptional experience in international group travel and our experience with the Passion Play is second to none.
No surprises on tour – GTD prides itself on providing comprehensive tours. Our competitors often lure travelers with a low-ball tour price, only to ask for more money during the tour for ‘special touring opportunities.’  Our brochures clearly outline what is provided.
YOU – as the group leader, you are one of the biggest tour draws.  Because you are putting your personal stamp on this tour, it is truly a tour highlight that no other tour can duplicate, and it is something most of your travelers can and do appreciate.

What is a GTD Custom Tour?
A custom tour allows you to participate in the planning of the itinerary:  the special touches, cities and sites, and budget to fit the needs of your group.  GTD will tailor a tour itinerary to fit the purpose of your group.

How many people are needed for an Oberammergau tour?
Generally we recommend a minimum of thrity-five travelers for an Oberammergau tour.  However, we have had tours travel with as few as twenty.  We periodically have group leaders pair up and ‘co-host’ a tour in order to take advantage of the price breaks sometimes larger tour numbers can present.  Speak to GTD about the options available to you.

What can I do to convince people to register for our tour at such an early date?
Emphasize that the Passion Play is an every-ten-year event and because it is so spectacular, the demand is high.  GTD will offer you assistance with promotional tips needed to be successful in filling your tour.  Other promotional tools include complimentary postcards and brochures, posting your tour on our website and GTD participation at promotional meetings.

What is the weather like in Europe at that time?
Performances begin running in the spring, through the summer, into fall.  Weather will be similar to the Midwest and will be variable between cool and hot, wet and dry.  There will really be no "better" time to attend than another.  The play is performed rain or shine.

What types of hotels are used?
Accommodations used as a part of the Passion Play package are determined by the Passion Play Committee in Oberammergau and range from first class hotels to homestays, with or without private facilities. Accommodations may be right in Oberammergau or as far away as Innsbruck. Prices vary according to category. You may request a certain category, but it cannot be guaranteed until confirmed by the Passion Play committee.

We encourage people to think of their stay in the Oberammergau area as a unique chance to share in an historic event rather than the "next stop" on a tour itinerary. The community is faithfully dedicated to honoring the Passion of Christ in their play, and at the same time they work diligently to offer clean, serviceable accommodation and meals.

For your overnights outside of the Passion Play package, GTD will select accommodations, ranging from budget to deluxe, to fit your group's needs. 

"Very pleasant, nice places to stay. We knew that the homes were checked out. Our group had no complaints" (Passion Play Tour Participant)

What airlines are used?
We partner with all major carriers for our groups. GTD's selection of the airline for your group will depend on the itinerary, fares, service, and availability.


I'm concerned about getting the travel dates I want for my tour.
It is best to be flexible in your expectations and allow a two-week window for your performance dates.  When confirmation comes nine to twelve months in advance, you should have adequate time for tour members to adjust their schedules to the confirmed tour dates.

Will the cost be higher than my last European tour?
Most assuredly, yes.  A number of factors influence prices for tours featuring the Passion Play:
- Supply and demand will be in full force.  Strong demand for limited air space and ground services has driven costs up.
- The dollar has dropped in value in comparison to other currencies, especially the Euro.  This drop in value has a direct impact on the cost of your tour.  GTD works diligently to help soften this economic influence, but you should know that it will and does have an impact on the price of any international tour.   
-The usual allowances for inflation.

However, keep this in mind: even as international travel has increased in cost, the value of traveling in a group remains strong.  There is no time like the present to bring a group together to experience the wonder of this once -a-decade event.

What is the next step to get started?
Call Group Travel Directors at 800-747-2255 or email info@gtd.org

Group Travel Directors
2000 West 98th Street
Minneapolis, MN 55431
tel: 952-881-7811 fax: 952-881-6276

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