Italy and Croatia go head to head in car trip ranking

Italy and Croatia are neck-and-neck as Austrians’ most popular destination for car holiday trips.Motorist association Arbö said today (Weds) it expected and equal number (18 per cent) of Austrians to go by car to Italy and Croatia this summer.Germany comes second with a share of 10 per cent, while Austria itself is third with nine per cent.Faraway Norway makes a surprising fourth place with seven per cent, while bordering Czech Republic improved from 20th to eighth place with a three per cent share.Greece’s financial woes leading to holidaymakers’ insecurity over booking holidays in the country is regarded as a key reason for its drop from fifth to sixth place.Arbö uses preliminary booking figures provided by travel agencies and poll results to conduct their ranking.The overall number of Austrians spending holidays is expected to be much lower than in previous years due to the effects of the credit crunch. Public opinion research agency IMAS said a majority of 54 per cent decided to stay at home this year. Fifty-two per cent of those interviewed said they will go out less this year to save money, while 51 per cent will spend less on clothes.Car petrol prices meanwhile continue to soar. Official figures presented today (Weds) reveal that Austrian inflation will have increased by just one per cent year on year last month without a 21 per cent increase in prices for mineral oil products.It is however uncertain whether the dramatic price hike tempted Austrians to ditch their cars in favour of using public transport or bicycles as research by insurance firm Generali showed that only one in ten drivers could imagine life without a car.Many Austrians nevertheless expressed their anger over car petrol price hikes shortly before this year’s Easter and Whitsun holiday weekend, and nine in ten Austrians interviewed by pollsters OGM accused mineral oil firms of engaging in price fixing.