The eight-page guide featured tips, including the fact that Austrian shopkeepers don't expect to haggle over prices, and that one shouldn’t cook in hotel rooms, or eat on the floor. German news magazine Focus scoffed at the suggestions, and the British Daily Mail tabloid called it “tourism apartheid”.
The guide was produced by tourism officials, the police and the Austrian Arabic chamber of trade. It also advised Arab women to adopt an “Austrian mentality” and to wear colourful clothes and not to cover up with the burqa.
Tourism marketing director Marco Pointner confirmed that the guide had been withdrawn as "unfortunately, certain passages led to misunderstandings. We will revise the brochure with input from guests and locals,” he said.
He added that there had not been any noticeable decline in bookings by Arab guests but that it was important to maintain the number of tourists visiting from the Middle East and he hoped that this year there would be an increase.
According to the latest statistics, last year there were 275,000 overnight stays by Arab guests in the Zell am See-Kaprun region – about 25 per cent of total visitors. They spent around €244 per person per day – double the level of other tourists.
Zell am See is regarded as one of the most picturesque and expensive of Austria's tourist destinations.