WHY stop at a simple city break? Agents looking to amximise revenues should look at major destinations innovatively, such as positioning Vienna as a honeymoon getaway – a profile that fits the city perfectly, according to the Vienna Tourist Board’s Erika Anna Nowak. Excerpts from an interview with S VIPULANANDA:
What does Vienna offer Middle Eastern tourists?
Vienna is a beautiful city with a very interesting history, full of amazing palaces and splendid gardens. Beyond music, art, treasure and culture, but also very good shopping opportunities, a highly recommended international restaurant scene and it is one of the safest European cities. Last but not least more than 60 per cent of our hotel beds are in the four- and five-star categories. So we have found the ideal slogan for our city: Love life. Live art. But Vienna is also a beautiful and very romantic city and is an ideal place for honeymoons.
Honeymoons? Tell us more?
Some hotels offer upgrades to suites for honeymoon couples, and fruits or flowers will be in the room on arrival. One can explore Vienna in a horse-drawn carriage, listen to romantic waltzes at concerts and have a candlelight dinner in one of the luxury wagons of the Giant Ferris Wheel. Couples could go on the antique luxury train, the Majestic Imperator, take a boat ride, picnic on the banks of the Danube or visit the mountains of Semmering near Vienna. A chocolate treatment at the Hotel Sacher Spa to relax and a typical Viennese coffee with Apfelstrudel are not to be missed.
What is the appeal for Arab tourists?
For Arabs particularly, Vienna has a mild summer climate, it offers good attractions and excursions for families, very good shopping, safety in hotels – and to top that, it is one of the most beautiful cities in Europe.
How are you going to market Vienna to the Middle East this year?
We have joined forces with the Austrian National Tourist Office (ANTO) and the national carrier Austrian for a marketing campaign that includes radio and other media. We will be attending the ANTO’s road show to several countries in Middle East. We will be present in the Emirates Holidays brochure presentation to at least 400 travel agents and direct clients in April and we will attend the ATM in Dubai. Last year we launched an Arabic website, (www.wien.info) and we distribute Arabic brochures. Every year we also host several press groups from Middle Eastern countries including Arabic and English speaking media.
What are the advantages and/or difficulties in marketing central European countries such as Hungary to Middle East travellers?
First of all Hungary is not included in the Schengen countries. This means that all travellers from the Middle East would need an extra visa for these countries. Austria, Germany and Switzerland have positioned themselves since years in the Arab market and they know the needs of Middle Eastern travellers. Tourism officials in East European countries are still unaware of these facts. A great advantage is that Austria has opened a national tourist office in Dubai, which is a big help for the trade.
How can future ACTB events further contribute to attracting Middle Eastern tourists to Austria?
Tourism professionals from the Middle East will find at the ACTB the most complete offer of Austrian Tourism. It will give them ideas to include more of Austria in order to make packages to Vienna and Austria even more attractive.