Foreign tourists rescue hotels’ overnight stays result

More holidaymakers from abroad helped Austrian hotels to a slight increase of overnight stays so far this winter, new figures show.State agency Statistik Austria said today (Weds) that the number of overnight stays edged up by 0.8 per cent to 27.81 million between November and January compared to the same period of the previous winter season.The statistics provider explained that the number of overnight stays by foreign guests rose by 1.7 per cent to 21.2 million, while Austrians spend two per cent fewer nights in hotels across the country with 6.61 million.The overall number of overnight stays rose by 3.8 per cent year on year to 14.39 million last month after decreases were recorded in November and December of last year.An overall 56.1 million overnight stays were registered by hotels across Austria between November 2009 and March 2010.Carinthia suffered the most drastic year on year decline of overnight stays so far this winter at minus 4.9 per cent, while the provinces of Styria (minus 0.7 per cent) and Burgenland (minus 0.6 per cent) struggled as well. Hotels in Vienna did best (plus 5.4 per cent), but resorts in Upper Austria recorded an increase as well (plus 2.8 per cent).Figures presented today also show that Germany remains the most important country for hotels in Austria as 45.2 per cent of all overnight stays between November 2010 and January 2011 were booked by tourists from the country. The situation has been similar in the summer holiday season for years.Analysts however also said that the status of Eastern Europe (EE) as a region in which to develop holiday marketing was improvving since more and more people living there are becoming able to afford to go abroad on vacation.News that overnight stays by Austrians in their own country are plummeting comes shortly after the Federal Economy Chamber (WKO) decided it will continue to financially back the Austrian Tourism Marketing Agency (ÖW).The WKO initially considered stopping providing the agency with eight million Euros a year over differences in opinion concerning its strategy. WKO officials suggested the ÖW should be more active within Austria.The chamber said last month that it will continue to subsidise the ÖW after the organisation vowed to reform its strategy in favour of an increased focus on Austrian tourists. The WKO holds a 25 per cent share in the agency which has an annual budget of 50 million Euros.Austria’s tourism industry generates around 18 per cent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP). Management Center Innsbruck (MCI) analysis has shown that – with 661,000 jobs – one in five jobs in Austria are directly or indirectly dependent on the country’s tourism.