23% jump in Indian arrivals

The country also recorded an increase of 30 per cent in overnights, reveals Christine Mukharji, Marketing Manager, Austrian National Tourism Office.

Tourism to Austria from India surpassed all previous numbers in 2016. An ecstatic Mukharji said, “Last year was our best year overall ever since we set up our office here in India. We had an increase of 30 per cent in overnights, and in arrivals we had 23 per cent jump. It was really a fantastic year for us.”

Austrian National Tourism Office is leaving no stone unturned to promote the destination to boost the numbers further in 2017. Mukharji revealed, “We are doing our annual roadshow for the trade and our media event in February. There will also be a gala event in Mumbai. We have also done a new event recently for the Swarovski Crystal World, for which we tied up with designer Manish Arora. Swarovski has three big stores in Austria, and Manish Arora is going to do special installations at all three of them.”

While agreeing that travel agents are important for them, Christine said that today Austria is so well-known and popular that people club it with Budapest and Prague because of good flight connections. “Plus, we are very lenient in issuing the visa. The visa-issuing process is going quite smoothly. We have 17 visa centres all over India, and people have opened up to Austria and have taken to everything there, including sports. Skiing is becoming very popular in Austria in summers. Thus, I have lots of requirements for skiing, cycling, as well as for hiking.”

Mukharji claimed that MICE is important for them and hence they have a good understanding with the embassy for visa facilitation of such groups. “We are giving them priority. Vienna is a perfect MICE destination and most of the companies prefer to club their MICE visit with one night in Prague for the nightlife,” she informed. Summing up their strategy, Mukharji said, “We just want to showcase Austria as a whole, where people, in one week or 10 days can experience boats, culture and our hospitality, which is our USP and that’s what we are going to focus on now.”

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