Austria intends to invite Ukrainian experts and officials in order to share experience in carrying out worldwide sports events. This was announced by Gregor Postl, trade representative of the Embassy of Austria to Ukraine, at the Kyiv press conference dedicated to the 2013 World Ski Championship, which is taking place in Schladming (Austria) February 4 through 17.
In his turn, Georg Kapus, representative of the Austrian National Tourist Office, noted that more than 90 thousand tourists from Ukraine visited Austria last year, which is twice as many as in 2007.
Kapus said that Ukrainian tourists visit Austria mostly in winter. 66.4 percent of visits fall on the winter season, and only 32.6 on summer. The most popular Austrian destinations for Ukrainians are Tirol, Salzburg, and Vienna. In 2012, a total of 123 million tourists visited Austria, a country with a population of eight million).
Postl remarks that another “beautiful holiday destination” will be promoted among Ukrainians: the federal state Styria, where Schladming is located. Graz, Styria’s capital city, was awarded the title Cultural Capital of Europe in 2003.
Kapus says that besides traditional Austrian hospitality, “a system that functions” is the guarantee of the country’s developed tourism.
“The tourism system in Austria is designed like a pyramid, with 10 thousand Austrian travel agencies at the bottom, tourism bureaus representing separate regions and cities above them, followed by the offices of Austrian federal states, and the National Tourist Office at the top of the pyramid. Besides, there is a department responsible for tourism in the country at the Austrian Economic Chamber,” the official says.
When comparing the promotion of tourism in Austria and Ukraine, Kapus emphasizes that it is very hard to find information about the latter. He has first-hand knowledge of this. “On the eve of the press conference I was searching for some necessary information about Ukraine on the web. It turned out to be really hard to find anything. So, a tourist that wants to come to Ukraine cannot find all the information they need in one place,” says the representative of the Austrian National Tourist Office. So, Austrians advise Ukraine to create a “strong national agency that would professionally represent Ukraine abroad. Without it, holding the 2022 Olympics in Ukraine is impossible.”
The Austrian National Tourist Office is financed by both state and tourism agencies. “Our annual budget equals to 140 million euros. 32 million come from the Austrian Economic Chamber, 22 million – from travel agencies, and the rest is provided by all Austrian federal states.”
Postl says that Austria wants to share its know-how of promoting tourism with Ukraine: “Soon we are going to invite experts so they can see the level of preparation for various world championships in Austria. Perhaps, this will help Ukraine, since it is going to apply for hosting the 2022 Olympics.” According to him, Ukraine has to develop its recreational infrastructure, especially in western Ukraine, regardless of its Olympic ambitions. “It is time for Ukrainian tourists to get acquainted not only with Austria, but with their own country as well. Ukraine might fail to be chosen as the Olympics host, but it still needs to build the infrastructure. Hope springs eternal, they say.”