Austrian tourism sector less competitive

The Austrian tourism branch has suffered in competitiveness, according to a survey presented today (Tues).The World Economic Forum (WEF) listed Austria in fourth in its latest Global Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Monitor, down two spots compared to the 2009 edition of the study.Switzerland heads the chart which features 219 countries and considers federal tourisms’ sustainability standards, price-performance ratios, security aspects and various other factors. Germany improved from third to second, while France climbed up one rank to third. Sweden made fifth place ahead of the United States, Great Britain and Spain.WEF praised Switzerland for its infrastructure and the country’s tourism sector for its sustainable and ecological decision-making. The organisation however criticised the high prices of Swiss hotels and other tourism sector businesses.Around 125 million overnight stays were recorded in hotels across Austria in 2010, 0.4 per cent more than the previous year. The federal capital Vienna did best last year compared to the year before among Austria’s nine political regions. Hotels and guesthouses in the city registered nearly 10.9 million overnight stays in 2010. State agency Statistik Austria said this was a 10.3 per cent improvement compared to 2009.The tourism sector is a crucial factor for the Austrian economy. Turnover generated by businesses in the tourism industry are responsible for around 18 per cent of the annual gross domestic product (GDP) of the country.