Graz economy reports European Handball Championships boost

The economy of Graz was given a massive boost by sport fans coming to watch the European Handball Championships.Sports city councillor Detlev Eisel-Eiselsberg of the People’s Party (ÖVP) said today (Tues) the Styrian capital’s hotels and pensions registered an additional 6,100 bookings in January compared to figures for the same month in previous years.He added that every Euro invested by the state and the province sparked 15 Euros in turnover for the region’s economy.Overall turnover created by the event made more than five million Euros, a study by the city’s Campus 02 college has shown.Eisel-Eiselsberg meanwhile announced that, with 80 per cent, the vast majority of guests staying in Graz in January came fro Croatia. Around ten per cent came from Norway, with the remaining ten per cent from foreign visitors.Campus 02 research showed that 67 per cent of guests said they wanted to come back.Croatia, Russia, Ukraine and Norway played their group stage matches in Graz, Austria’s second-biggest city, while the knockout stage games took place in the capital Vienna.Tor Lian, president of the European Handball Federation (EHF), recently praised Austria for doing “a fantastic job” in hosting the event.”We are more than satisfied. The tournament had extremely high standards in all regards. Austria did a fantastic job,” he said.Lian stressed that 2012 Euro Champs host Serbia would have to work hard to achieve the same level.EHF Vice Präsident Jean Brihault said he considered the tournament “a milestone for the sport”.France, 2008 Olympic champions and 2009 world champions, won the tournament by beating Croatia in the final.Domestic handball officials also drew positive reviews as far as the host team’s performance was concerned since Austria – who are not seen as among the sport’s best teams – finished the tournament in ninth place.