Tourists splashed out 250mn in Austrian shops in 2010

Foreign tourists spent almost 30 per cent more in shops in Austria last year than they did in 2009, according to an international travel and shopping service platform.Global Blue Austria announced today (Weds) that holidaymakers from abroad spent approximately 250 million Euros in stores across the country in 2010. The platform stressed this was a 27 per cent year on year improvement.”Last year was a surprisingly successful one after 2009 had been rather difficult. The growth did not occur just because of the poor figures recorded in 2009. There is some new and real growth as well,” Global Blue Austria said.The platform said that around 60 per cent of the overall turnover generated by foreign tourists’ purchases was generated by shops in capital city Vienna. The province of Tyrol – one of the most popular skiing regions in the world – comes second with a share of 10 per cent.Russians spent the most in Austrian stores among tourists from non-European Union (EU) states last year with 83 million Euros, with Chinese travellers in second (44 million Euros) and Croatian tourists in third. Global Blue Austria explained that Russian holidaymakers love buying luxury goods like expensive watches and jewellery, while tourists from China spent most on souvenirs.”The variety of products is rising in Croatia. That’s why fewer Croats go on shopping trips to Austria,” Global Blue Austria explained. The platform said Croatian holidaymakers spent 23 million Euros in Austrian shops last year, 10 per cent less than in 2009. Global Blue Austria added the turnover generated from purchases by people from other countries near or neighbouring Austria was also in decline.These shopping turnover figures come after many Tyrolean hotel managers started putting their main focus on meeting the demands of wealthy Russian travellers.Some hotel bosses explained they decided to adapt their breakfast, lunch and dinner variety to satisfy tourists from the former Soviet state while some translated their menus, websites and leaflets into Russian.More than 40 per cent of all Russian holidaymakers registered in the province choose four and five star hotels, according to its Tourism Marketing Agency.Around four in 10 of all overnight stays by Russians in Austria are in Tyrol. The province’s Ötz Valley and the winter sport resort of Mayrhofen in its Ziller Valley in particular have become more and more popular among Russians during recent years.More than 430,000 overnight stays by around 55,000 Russians were recorded in the 2009/2010 winter season by Tyrolean tourism industry officials. They stressed that fewer than 25,000 Russian tourists spent their skiing holidays in Tyrol in the 2004/2005 winter holiday period.