Vienna tourism reports record overnight figures

The Viennese tourism industry seems to be over the worst of the economic downturn as it had its best first six months of the year in history.Vienna tourism chief Norbert Kettner revealed today (Thurs) that 4.8 million overnights occurred between January and June of this year, up by 12.9 per cent year on year and 4.9 per cent more than in the previous top period, the first six months of 2008.Kettner said soaring interest by guests from the city’s key markets Germany (plus 19 per cent), Austria (plus 16 per cent) and Italy (plus 21 per cent) was a crucial factor in serving up the great figures.He added the federal capital’s hotels registered more guests from other important countries like Spain, the United States and Russia as well as a rise in tourists from promising markets like Turkey and China.Kettner stressed that Viennese tourism businesses also benefited from Austrian Airlines’ (AUA) decision to use larger planes for many of its most important connections.The Vienna tourism chief said year on year turnover rates of the city’s hotel industry soared by 9.1 per cent to 162.2 million Euros between January and May of this year compared to the first five months of 2009, adding that June figures were not yet available.Kettner however warned of exaggerated optimism: “I wouldn’t say with a 100 per cent certainty that the crisis is definitely over.”He announced plans to invest almost seven million Euros into various marketing initiatives this year to keep interest in the city at a high level.News of record overnights in Vienna come just days after Klaus Ennemoser, head of the Federal Economy Chamber’s (WKO) hotelier sector, said the Austrian tourism industry had the chance of reaching a year on year increase in overnights this year.Ennemoser said he “dreams” of a two per cent improvement, adding that the country’s 14,000 hotelier businesses achieved a one per cent year on year jump in overnights between January and May of this year compared to the same time span in 2009.He said four and five star resorts saw overnights soar by 4.6 per cent, while one and two star pensions struggled in the first five months of 2010 which slapped them a 4.4 per cent slump.Ennemoser said the industry’s key ambition must be to win back Austrian holidaymakers as less than a third spend their vacations within the country.”Austrians spend more than 30 million overnights on holidays abroad every year,” he revealed, adding that the number of overnights at Austrian hotels by foreigners and Austrians declined by 1.8 per cent to 124.3 millions.