Austria aims for better performance this year

Gröblacher … try Austria in the winter

Last Year Austria counted 1.4 million bed nights generated by about 450,000 arrivals from the Middle East, an increase of 7 per cent bed nights over 2016. This was the second strongest year ever for Austria, after only 2015, when Austria received slightly more visitors from the region.

The new director for the Middle East chapter of Austrian National Tourist Office (ANTO), Robert Gröblacher, spoke to TTN about the tourism board’s strategy in the region and what it plans to achieve in 2018.

“This year, we are also hoping for an increase in visitors as well as bed nights. There is a lot of potential from Saudi Arabia and the UAE is already developing quite well. Austria has a very good reputation among guests from the region, can be easily reached and offers a good value-for-money travel experience.”

Austria is, on the one hand, known for its unique and untouched nature, while, on the other hand, for its cities, with their charming and historic city centres. The country is relatively small so many destinations can be visited in one trip, the quality of hotels and apartments is high and the country is known for its friendly hosts. Also, it is a very safe country, Gröblacher tells us.

Emirates airline flies twice daily to Austrian capital Vienna and thrice daily to Munich in Germany, from where one can reach the west of Austria within an hour.

“Apart from a strong focus on the summer season, we also want to introduce the idea of visiting Austria in the winter Time for the snow experience, winter markets and even winter sports. We think there is a big potential in the Gulf countries for this season as well and we have already done some familiarisation trips that confirm this potential.

“There are more areas in Austria to discover than the ones usually visited by guests from the Middle East, especially when it comes to nature. The region of Tyrol,with great mountain landscapes, for example, has a big potential and the Salzkammergut, between Vienna and Salzburg with lush landscapes, lakes and mountains, would also be liked by guests from the GCC.”

To reach their main target groups of families and couples in the Middle East, ANTO focuses equally on both B2B and B2C promotions.

“In the B2B-sector, we just did our joint roadshow with Emirates airline in Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and the UAE. Our online training programme for the travel industry ‘ACTS’ is a great way for the trade to be educated in all things Austrian. Our other focus is on B2C-marketing, especially in the online and social media space.”

To promote Vienna as a romantic destination, ANTO teamed up with a local wedding fashion designer from the UAE who went to Vienna, got inspired by the city, and created a collection of seven Vienna-themed wedding dresses. “Another example is a set of videos we made with a family from the UAE who went on an actual holiday to all of Austria.

“It’s all about authenticity and giving potential guests a real insight into the country,” says Gröblacher. 

* Austrian National Tourist Office is available on stand EU6610