Ramadan diminishes August overnight results

Ramadan has been identified as the main reason for a dramatic decline of overnight stays by guests from the Arabian region last August.Klaus Ehrenbrandtner, Middle East market manager of the Austria Marketing (ÖW), said today (Fri) there had been a 43.3 per cent drop in overnights by tourists from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait in August of this year compared to the same month of 2009.Unlike in 2009, Ramadan covered most of August this year. Ehrenbrandtner explained: “The Islamic month of fasting is traditionally spent at home. People normally don’t travel in that period.”Austrian tourism officials consider the Arab region as the third-most important overseas market after the United States of America and Japan – despite Arab tourists’ share of overnights in Austria being currently just 0.35 per cent.But Ehrenbrandtner stressed: “The number of overnights by guests from the Arabian region in Austria soared by 100 per cent since 2004. This means we are one of the markets benefiting most from it. Only Malta and the former Soviet states have done better.”The number of overnights by Arab travellers in Austria improved by 21.7 per cent year on year to 330,800 between January and August of 2010 after a year on year drop in the previous year.Ehrenbrandtner said there were many cancellations in 2009, adding that most of them may have to do with the swine flu epidemic in Europe.The ÖW official’s explanations come one day after a hotel comparison platform revealed that hotel prices in Austria rose by three per cent to 115 Euros from September to October of this year.Trivago (www.trivago.co.uk/hotelprices) said a standard double room in the country cost 115 Euros per night this month, adding that the average price in the federal capital Vienna was 137 Euros (September: 125 Euros).Around 46.58 million overnights were registered across Austria between May and August of this year, up by 1.1 per cent compared to the summer season of 2009.