Tourism Down in Vienna

News Brief: Sept. 2009

As a result of the financial crisis, the number of tourists in Vienna has dropped significantly in the first half of 2009 over last year. Four-star hotels are most affected by the fall in demand, citing noticably visitors from traditional source countries of Italy, Russia and Spain – with the only increase for visitors from France.

“The rate of overnight stays has gone down for the first time in six years,” said Vienna Tourism Director Norbert Kettner. The city listed 4.3 million bed/nights in Jan.-Jun., which is a 7.1% decrease in comparison to last year, translating into a decrease in sales of over 14%.

Kettner traces the drop in demand back to the economic crises. In order to fight the trend, more than €7 million are slated for a worldwide publicity campaign to include TV spots and internet or newspaper advertisements.

However, the launch of the movie Brüno, which deals with a gay Austrian fashion journalist, already helped the city’s tourism industry: Since the premiere, bookings for Vienna increased by 120% within a week. Another positive element for Vienna’s tourism marks the “Haydn-Year 2009”: according to the organizers, 207 journalists from 27 countries have already come to Eisenstadt, the “metropolis” of the  “Haydn-Year 2009,” and to Vienna to report on the event.

As one example, Vienna’s 5-star Grand Hotel on the Parkring, has been offering Haydn Packages of a three-day weekend including visits to Haydn sites and a full choice of musical events plus several gourmet meals for €349 per person. These, reports Assistant General Manager Carl-Peter Echtermeijer, have been “selling like hotcakes.”

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