Letters to the Editor: Feb. 2010

The Vienna Review welcomes letters from its readers.

To the Editor,

This is just to thank you for the very thoughtful review of The Red Prince. I was very happy to see so much of the book so concisely and well summarized.

Timothy Snyder
Professor of History, Yale University
Fellow, Institute for the Human Sciences


To the Editor,

I think it is rather naive to believe that Austria’s backward’s attitude to protecting people from toxic smoke makes it more attractive to tourists. Most of Austria’s tourism revenue comes from visitors from Western Europe and the USA. In large parts of those regions people have become used to enjoying gastronomy without the harmful fug of foul smelling smoke. In Italy, the UK and France the smoking bans have sky-high approval ratings in opinion polls.

That shows people enjoy the experience of socialising without the unpleasant effects of other people’s smoke. It follows that they would enjoy the experience when travelling abroad and would choose their destination accordingly. Therefore, if anything, Austria is downgrading its image.

The Austrian legislation puts Vienna now on a par with cities like Belgrade and Tirana. Both of these “nicotine havens” have their retro charms, of course, but I think the Vienna tourism marketing heads would prefer Vienna to be seen in the same bracket as more glamorous ‘world cities’ like Rome, Paris, New York, Sydney or London – all of which have a more progressive attitude to second-hand smoke protection.

Interestingly if you want to find non-smoking areas in Austria, it is best to hang out in areas most frequented by tourists such as the 1st district of Vienna or ski villages. In a country where tourism is the largest revenue, you might imagine that would get people thinking.


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