Overnight stays up with a little help from Vienna

A strong year on year surge of overnight stays in Vienna rescued the 2010 performance of the Austrian tourism industry.Figures presented by state agency Statistik Austria yesterday (Weds) show that hotels in the federal capital registered 10.86 million overnight stays last year, 10.3 per cent more than in 2009. The city’s tourism businesses also did better than in 2008 when hotels in Vienna achieved an all-time record with 10.2 million overnight stays.Viennese tourism industry officials however pointed out recently that the pressure on hotel managers in the city was set to grow since more than a dozen of new hotels will start doing business in the near future. Michaela Reitterer, who heads the Austrian Hotel Industry Association’s (ÖHV) Vienna branch, warned that many hotel chiefs could see themselves forced to slash prices due to the rising number of rivals.The overall number of overnight stays in Austria’s nine provinces including Vienna edged up by just 0.4 per cent to 124.82 million.Detailed figures show that the number of overnight stays by holidaymakers from Germany and the Netherlands decreased year on year by 1.5 per cent and 4.1 per cent respectively. The two countries are key markets for the Austrian tourism industry.Records presented by the Austrian state agency also reveal that fewer Belgian tourists and people from Romania and Great Britain chose Austria last year, while the number of overnight stays by Russians soared by 23.2 per cent year on year. Hotels also registered more bookings by Americans, Swedes and travellers from France.Carinthia suffered the strongest decline of overnight stays among Austria’s provinces in 2010 at 3.7 per cent, while Burgenland (plus 1.5 per cent) and Styria (0.6 per cent) did better year on year.Statistik Austria also announced that four and five star resorts did better in 2010 when they registered 4.1 per cent more overnight stays than in the previous year, while one and two star hotels did worse as overnight stay figures declined by 3.8 per cent. Statistik Austria added that guesthouses experienced a 6.7 per cent year on year decrease at the same time.The Federal Economy Chamber (WKO) meanwhile announced it will continue to subsidise the Austrian Tourism Marketing Agency (ÖW) with eight million Euros a year. This statement, which settles a bitter feud between the institutions, comes just days after WKO President Christoph Leitl said he decided to scrap payments by the end of this year.Leitl previously explained he was of the opinion that ÖW should show more initiative in trying to create interest for stays in Austria among residents of the country. Yesterday’s 2010 hotel industry performance report shows that 35.01 million overnight stays in the country’s hotels were made by Austrians – 1.6 per cent more than in 2009.The WKO boss claimed today these figures would show that Austria is an important market for the domestic tourism industry as well.ÖW – which previously stressed its marketing initiatives were based on the results of studies and its permanent global monitoring activities – said it will launch more campaigns in Austria. The WKO explained ÖW will be provided with 300,000 Euros annually to spend on domestic marketing efforts.The WKO, which holds a 25 per cent share in ÖW, explained today that the marketing agency’s annual overall budget will remain unchanged at 50 million Euros.