Austria hopes for footy bonus


Austria expects an economic windfall with this month's Euro 2008.

The football championship, which runs for three weeks from June 7, is one of the world's top sporting events, and the country, which hosts the event with Switzerland, is hoping it will bring in both seasoned travellers and football fans on their first visit.
Nearly two million additional overnight stays are expected during the three weeks. Petra Stolba, head of the Austrian National Tourist Office, told Associated Press: 'We are convinced that the Euro 2008 will shine the spotlight on Austria, and this advertising value is immeasurable.'
Economists working for the government put the economic benefit to Austria at $492.1 million, or 0.15 percent of annual GDP.  In Germany, the World Cup added about 0.3 per cent to GDP, the government said, and visiting soccer fans apparently spent about 50 percent more than other tourists.
Already UEFA has sold all its tickets for the matches, and the only passes available now are illegal resale tickets.