Top photo: ©Österreich Werbung/Peter Burgstaller
For the past two years, Austria’s tourism sector has shown strong growth. 2013, in particular, has been the strongest year on record so far, with 36 million arrivals worldwide. Arrivals from the U.S. increased by 9.1% to 580,000, not including an estimated 120,000 arrivals by river cruise boats, as well. Overnight stays were equally strong, increasing by 6.3% to 1,367,200.
“The increase in arrivals was especially pronounced in Austria’s major city destinations - Vienna & Salzburg - as well as in upscale Alpine resorts and towns such as Innsbruck, Kitzbühel, Lech,” says Michael Gigl, Director of the Austrian Tourist Office, North America & Australia. He attributes the strong growth to Austria’s excellent value, a very strong focus on leisure travel, as well as Vienna’s prominence as top city destination in Europe. Also, so Gigl, “Austria continually updates its product with upscale hotels, such as the Park Hyatt in Vienna to open in June 2014, and attractions, such as the re-opening of the Kunstkammer in Vienna in 2013, or the expansion of Swarovski Crystal Worlds in Wattens, scheduled to open mid-2015.”
With its newly launched 2014 marketing campaign “Austria. Moments of Bliss” the Austrian Tourist Office North America is banking on these trends and positioning Austria as the quintessential European travel destination in the heart of the European continent. Austria has always been a meeting place of many cultures, a place where for centuries the most diverse influences from East and West, North and South, were blended into a culture of its own. A combination of Mediterranean liveliness and zest for life, a bit of Northern European efficiency, a sprinkling of Eastern European humor, and a deep appreciation for fine music, art and tradition created the uniquely Austrian way of life.
Visitors to Austria can encounter these elements in many different ways, and the new campaign highlights very specific examples. From carefully preserved natural beauty, beautifully presented treasures of art and culture, charming towns and bustling cities, inspired cuisine, inspirational events and cozy hotels, “Austria. Moments of Bliss” offers suggestions for every taste. Apart from the focus on Austria as a cultural melting pot, the campaign also emphasizes Austria as a multi-generational travel destination, focusing on the numerous memorable cultural experiences for both children and grown-ups offered in its cities (find more information at www.austria.info/bliss).
For 2014, the additional flights Austrian Airlines will be offering to Vienna will likely have a visible impact on arrivals. As of July 2014, Austrian will fly five times a week to Newark, New Jersey, opening up many additional flight connections through partner United Airlines. Also starting July 2014, Austrian will offer daily flights to Washington, D.C. with the new Boeing 777, and as of May 2014, there will be daily service to Chicago.
Austrian will also be offering 12 weekly flights to New York, which adds up to a total of 33 nonstop flights from North America to Vienna. The airline is strengthening its flight service to the USA due to increased demand and expects 130,000 additional passengers in 2014. As a special occasion, and to provide our U.S. readers with even more information about Austria as a tourist destination, please find enclosed with this issue of Austrian Information a copy of Austria’s travel magazine Arrive.