Brits help to give tourism in Vienna a boost

Brits help to give tourism in Vienna a boost
Wien Tourismus/Christian Stemper
Vienna is going through a tourism boom at the moment after seeing significantly more tourists in the first half of this year.

Vienna recorded around 6.6 million visitor overnight stays between January and June 2016 – about 4.9% more than in the same period the previous year.

On average, Vienna’s hotel rooms had an occupancy rate of 67% from January to June 2016 and around 80% of all bednights were accounted for by international guests.

The biggest increase was in tourists coming from the United Kingdom. In total British people spent 295,000 overnight stays in the first half of 2016, an increase of nearly a quarter compared to last year.

According to Vienna Tourism Director Norbert Kettner, the increase is partly due to seven new flight connections between the UK and Vienna.

He warned, however, that the recent decision by the UK to leave the European Union could halt this effect.

“Turbulence in the financial market, affects on prices, lowering real income, and less purchasing power of British guests could stop the growth from the United Kingdom,” said Kettner.

The International Air Transport Organization (IATA) estimated that the number of British airline passengers could decline by between 3 and 5% by 2020.

Welcoming new regulations

Kettner welcomes the new rules concerning the rental of private rooms and property to tourists in Vienna. From August, the new regulations mean that some who advertise apartments on websites such as Airbnb will have to declare finances and pay taxes.

“Vienna is not prohibiting a Sharing Economy but we want the same legal rights and duties for all providers,” he said.

The new rules to allow venues to open their Schanigarten in the winter time were also welcomed by Kettner as a “very positive” change.

Current rules only allow restaurants and cafes to open their outside spaces during the spring and summer months will be allowed to open all year from December.

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