This past spring was a good one for Austria: For the summer pre-season, arrival statistics for the country showed an increase in arrivals by 6.1 percent to 5.9 Million and an increase of 4.77 percent in overnights to 16.7 million – a new record for the months of May and June. The highest increase in arrivals came from Germany, Italy and the US.
Arrivals from the US in May and June increased by 9.9 percent to 151,000 and overnights by 10.9 percent to 332,200. This development contributes to a strong first half of 2014 with an increase in arrivals by 9.4 percent to 264,200 and an increase in overnights by 8,5 percent to 627,900.
Vienna continues to be an especially strong draw for American travelers, with the city of Salzburg being the second most popular destination for US visitors. However, the report called the overall environment "challenging," with high ticket prices being a key factor in preventing significant growth.
In this light, the new Austrian Airlines flight from Newark to Vienna that started in July and added another US gateway to New York, Washington, D.C. and Chicago has helped keep prices for direct flights to Austria at a reasonable level. It also makes Vienna more accessible by adding more options for connecting flights to the rest of the country.
Meanwhile, the Austrian Tourist Office has launched a series of new initiatives to put the spotlight on Austria as an exceptional travel destination:
An on-location Austria Destination Summit for luxury agents will take place in Salzburg and Vienna from October 19-25. The program will provide an in-depth exploration of Austria’s leisure product, with a strong focus on the luxury segment. The Summit will include a total of 60 travel advisors and is by invitation only.
In addition, the Austria Expert Program, an online educational program for travel agents, launched this summer. The newly updated version includes destination information, including travel tips, itinerary suggestions and an overview of basic travel infrastructure. The program is geared to equip agents with product information that will help them sell the destination. Upon completion, agents will be certified as an Austria Expert and can sign up for a monthly newsletter to receive regular news updates.
As a member country of the Alpine Tourist Commission, a marketing initiative that also includes Germany and Switzerland, the Austrian Tourist Office and its partners have put together a new travel itinerary – Absolutely Alps - that highlights “Top-of-the-World” experiences in the Alpine region of each country. From Zurich through Vorarlberg, the Tirol and Salzburg on to Germany, the itinerary features top attractions, events, insider tips, top gourmet locations as well as hotel suggestions along the route. See the detailed itinerary and downloadable e-brochure at www.austria.info/alps.