IBNA / Interview: Nicolas Graser From Sector of Public Relations of Tourist Board of City of Vienna ‘Wien Tourismus’
By Medina Malagić – Vienna
Nikolas Graser from the Sector of Public Relations of the Tourist Board of the city of Vienna ‘Wien Tourismus’ speaks about the plans of the city of Vienna in incrasing the number of foreign tourists, the number of visits in the previous year, tourist visits from B&H and the most visited tourist destinations in Vienna.
What does the Tourist Board of the City of Vienna do to increase the number of foreign tourists?
One of the main prerequisites for more foreign tourists is to improve signaling in Vienna in order to facilitate the movement of visitors, and on which we are extensively working. We are meeting almost every day with people in Vienna involved in this in order to elaborate plans to improve infrastructure that would facilitate the movement of tourists in the city.
For better tourism connection, the main railway station is very important that is being built and which will be particularly important for the market in the Balkans.
We had a jubilee in 2012, and the theme was Gustav Klimt, one of the most important Austrian painters. Such concrete events are a real gift to marketing departments, because in this way I can deal with concrete things.
This year and next year we do not have such a jubilee, but we will have a thematic focus on art, and we will focus on connecting the cultural and culinary events in Vienna. Regarding culinary innovation, the re-opening of the Chamber of Art is planned, which contains a treasure of artifacts from the entire world that goes back to the Middle Ages. It will be placed in the Museum of the History of Art.
In addition, there is the Vienna Musical Theatre for Boys. They are marking their 500-year anniversary and received their first concert hall. Here, we identified areas where we wish to connect cuisine and art. Next year, we will continue with culture, but the focus will be on celebrations and dancing. At that time, we will mark the 200 years of the Vienna Congress.
In 2015, we will mark the 150 years of the Ring Boulevard, where we are preparing a package of marketing measures.
Vienna is among the fastest growing cities in the world. How much can this help in the tourist promotion of the city?
The city of Vienna functions well and we are ‘playing’ a bit with the term ‘smart city’. Vienna is a city that is the fastest growing in Europe and in the metropolitan area called Aspern we are developing a new part of the city with 270 hectares.
In addition to that, for the first time Mercer Study chose us as the best city to live in, while another city confirmed that Vienna is the ‘smartest city’ in the world.
How many tourists visited Vienna this year and what are the statistics in comparison to last year?
Last year there were 2,4 million overnight stays and it was the most successful year for tourism in Vienna. During the year, we marked a growth in all segments. This year we had a similar beginning. In the first half of 2013, in comparison to the same period last year, we marked a growth of 2,2 percent. When it comes to tourists from the Balkans, we are statistically treating it the same as tourists Serbia, B&H, Macedonia and Montenegro, and from these countries last year we had 121.000 overnight stays, which is a growth of 8,9 percent in comparison to 2011.
This is 60.000 arrivals and tourists from these countries stay an average of 2,2 days in Vienna. Turnover in the hospitality from tourists from these countries last year was 4,9 million Euros. In comparison, Germany is a major market and we 2,4 million overnight stays we had a turnover of 100 million Euros.
Are there any plans of the Tourist Board of Vienna for increasing the number of tourists from B&H?
B&H, like Serbia, Montenegro and Macedonia are not markets that we are actively processing. We have 23 markets throughout the world that we process and they are strategically selected. When it comes to B&H, we do not have separate data, but we gather them with statistics from Serbia, Montenegro and Macedonia.
There are much fewer stays in Vienna and they are not statistically processed. However, the arrival of tourists from these four countries is not so short, such as tourists from Hungary that stay only several hours, and the reason for that is that they are closer to Vienna.
What are the most visited tourist destinations in Vienna?
Last year, the Tourist Board stopped categorizing the most visited destinations, because they do not provide solid information. Take, for example, the Cathedral of St. Stephen. Every tourist visits it, but there is an entrance fee, so we cannot statistically analyze it.
It is statistically proven that in first place is the Schonbrunn Castle with a zoo. 3,5 million tourists visit the zoo annually. In the forefront is the Cathedral of St. Stephen, then Belvedere Castle, Museum of Albertina, and the Museum of the History of Art. There are a large number of sites, but these are some of the most important destinations.