Nearly 100,000 Middle Eastern travellers stayed overnight in Austria last year, a figure up 20 per cent over the previous year.
Klaus Ehrenbrandtner, director of Middle East for the Austrian National Tourist Office, told media at this year's Arabian Travel Market that the region's biggest growth area was the Gulf. "People in the Gulf have specific ideas about what they want from their holidays and in Austria they can escape the heat and stay in a mountain climate," he said.
Vienna alone received half that number with 48,000. Visitors from the region are drawn to three main destinations, Vienna, Salzburg and Zell Am See, but new on the map are the Gastein Valley, Carinthia and picturesque Kitzbühel.
As connections improve with increased capacity from regional carriers as well as a new route from Saudi Arabia and double daily Dubai-Vienna flights from Austrian Airlines later this year, regional visitor numbers to the central European country will only rise.
Another contributory factor will be the UEFA Euro 2008, the European football championships, being held in Austria and Switzerland this month.
Arabic and English brochures are available from the ANTO, as well as training agents on selling the country with its Austria Certified Travel Specialist (ACTS) programme.
One of the top ten tourist destinations in the world, Austria expects 60 million bed nights in total in 2008.
By Clark Kelly
TTN is the most established trade publication in the Middle East distributed on a controlled circulation basis to members of the travel and tourism industry.
Published monthly by Al Hilal Publishing and Marketing Group, the region’s foremost trade publisher, TTN is aimed at professionals in the industry, from travel agents to airline and hotel personnel.
TTN provides in-depth and extensive coverage of relevant issues in the Middle East and North Africa as well as in other parts of the world. Travel related news, analysis, and new appointments together with information on up-coming exhibitions, marketing and promotional campaigns are presented in an innovative and striking colour tabloid.
Every issue also contains a collation of international and regional news and topical features of interest to readers.