The Arab world registered the highest growth among inbound source markets for the Austrian destination of Zell am See over the last five years and insiders expect the trend to continue, according to Hans Wallner, spokesperson for the Zell am See tourism authority.
“In summer 2006 we counted around 80,000 overnights from Arabian guests, which represents around 10 per cent of the total number of overnights during the summer season,” Wallner told TTN by email. “In total there are 14,000 guest beds in all categories in Zell am See Kaprun.”
Zell am See Kaprun represents Austria at its best, he added. “The combination of a glacier, a lake and a small, medeival town attracts tourists from all over the world to Zell am See Kaprun. For Arab tourists, I guess that water in various kinds – frozen as snow at the Kitzsteinhorn glacier and the high-quality water in Lake Zell are the main attractions.”
Tourists going to Zell am See this summer, then, can expect a slew of festivals this season. The main attraction for Arabian tourists are midweek festivals, held every Wednesday during the summer and the Lake Zell festivals that take place at the end of July and beginning of August, Wallner said.
And despite growing competition from similar destinations in other areas of Europe, such as Garmisch Partenkirchen in Germany, Wallner said Zell am See would continue to bring in the numbers. “There is no doubt that Garmisch Partenkirchen is a typical Alpine resort. Compared with Zell am See Kaprun, however, Arabian tourists will value the bigger choice of sights and the fact that Zell am See Kaprun offers a lake and a glacier within a few kilometres’ distance.”
Unlike most other Austrian destinations, Zell am See is not a rustic village but rather, a lakeside town with a charming old centre that is more geared to summer than winter visitors. It is an attractive base for holidaymakers who enjoy travelling around, and tourists with a car can drive to several nearby resorts, including Saalbach-Hinterglemm, Bad Gastein-Bad Hofgastein, Wagrain, Obertauern and Schladming.
by Keith J Fernandez