Rise in Indian tourists to romantic Austria

New Delhi, Feb 14 (IANS) There was a record growth in the number of Indians visiting Austria last year, with the capital Vienna witnessing an almost 50 percent increase in Indian tourist traffic over 2014, drawing over 40,000 visitors, the Austrian National Tourist Office said here.

Salzburg, birthplace of 18th century composer Mozart, recorded a 52 percent growth in Indian arrivals in 2015 over the previous year, while the Alpine city of Innsbruck emerged as the second favourite Austrian destination among Indian travellers, after the capital.

High-end crystal maker Swarovski, which has multiple outlets in India, factory in the Austrian Tyrol ranges, recorded 70,000 Indian visitors in eight months in 2015.

“A recent study we commissioned shows that Austria offers the perfect combination of culture and landscape that appeals to Indian tourists. At least 98 percent of visitors are leisure travellers..we hardly have business travellers,” Christine Mukharji, India market manager, Austrian National Tourist Office told reporters here.

In their India promotional this year, the Austrians are highlighting how Indian filmaker Karan Johar shot a lot of his latest venture “Ae Dil Hai Mushkil”, to be released later this year, at locations in Austria.

“Romantic Vienna looks to attracting more Indian youth and honeymooners as the city’s attractivemess touches an emotional chord with millions awaiting the launch of the romantic Karan Johar movie ‘Ae Dil Hai Mushkil’,” Isabella Rauter of the Vienna Tourist Board said.

She said that Vienna, whose imperial heritage can be experienced through hundreds of palaces and dozens of castles and royal gardens, is an ideal romantic setting that has adopted the 2016 promotional theme of “Imperial and Contemporary” to mark the death centenary of Hapsburg Emperor Franz Joseph.

One of Vienna’s other attractions, Rauter said, was its “traditonal coffee house culture” made up by the presence of more than 2000 coffee houses, of which some notable ones feature in the UNESCO intangible cultural heritage list since 2011.

In 2015, Indians accounted for a record nearly 90,000 overnight stays in the Austrian capital that was close to a forty percent growth over the previous year.

“Vienna Tourist Board is targeting young travellers and honeymooners given its growing popularity over the years,” Rauter said.

The content of Rauter’s selling proposition, which so charmed film maker Karan Johar, draws on the incomparably rich cultural heritage of the late-19th century Austro-Hungarian empire, ruled by the House of Habsburgs, that was a multinational realm and one of the world’s great powers at the time.

Austria-Hungary was geographically the second-largest country in Europe after the Russian empire, and built up the fourth largest machine-building industry of the world, after the US, Germany and Britain.

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