copy the linklink copied!Austria

copy the linklink copied!Tourism in the economy

The direct value-added effect of tourism to the Austrian economy in 2018 is calculated to be EUR 25 billion (excluding business trips), or 6.5% of GDP, according to the Austrian Tourism Satellite Account (TSA). Based on the TSA, some 244 000 full-time job equivalents were directly attributed to tourism related industries in 2017, contributing 6.4% of overall employment in Austria. Travel exports represented  30.9% of total service exports in 2018.

The number of international tourist arrivals in all accommodation establishments (commercial and private) was 30.8 million in 2018, which was up 4.6% over 2017, and the number of bednights amounted to 110.4 million (up 4.2%). The fastest growing source markets compared with 2017 were Germany (up 2.7 million bednights), the Netherlands (up 0.3 million) and Czech Republic (up 0.2 million). Declines were registered from Switzerland and Liechtenstein (down 89 000 bednights), Italy (down 35 000) and Turkey (down 21 000).

For 2018, there was a positive balance of payments from tourism of approximately EUR 9.3 billion, an increase of EUR 660 million when compared to 2017. Income from inbound tourism totalled EUR 19.5 billion, a rise of 7.4%, while spending by Austrian residents abroad also increased by 7.3% to EUR 10.1 billion.

Domestic tourist arrivals in paid accommodation totalled 14.0 million in 2018 (up 3.0%) with 39.4 million bednights registered (up 2.2%). Record highs were registered during both the winter and summer seasons with 5.9 million and 8.2 million arrivals respectively.

copy the linklink copied!Tourism governance and funding

Under the Austrian Federal Constitution, the nine Länder (federal provinces) have legislative and executive responsibility for tourism affairs. As tourism is a cross cutting sector, Federal and European laws also apply.

At a national level, from January 2020 on tourism policy is the responsibility of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Regions and Tourism. In addition, there is a Parliamentary Committee for Tourism within the Austrian Parliament. Synergies between the national and regional levels continue to be strengthened via a Tourism Steering Group, which is chaired by the Ministry and brings together representatives of the regional tourism administrations.

Co-operation with other ministries, departments, institutions and the tourism industry is organised for specific topics either via permanent groups or for short term issues dealt with by round tables. This includes, for example, the Expert Council supporting the implementation of Plan T - Master Plan for Tourism, as well as sustainable mobility, visas and tourism ethics issues. Other issues are considered on a case-by-case basis - such as new funding schemes and legislation affecting tourism. These permanent groups and roundtables are also established to future proof policies, and enable a thorough horizon scanning process.

The Austrian National Tourist Office (ANTO) is the national tourism marketing organisation. It is funded by the Ministry (75%) and the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber (25%), and co-operates closely with the Austrian tourism trade, including the tourist boards of the Länder and tourism businesses. The core responsibilities of Austrian National Tourist Office are market research, brand management, marketing, tourism networking and information provision.

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Austria: Organisational chart of tourism bodies
Austria: Organisational chart of tourism bodies

Source: OECD, adapted from the Federal Ministry of Ministry for Agriculture, Regions and Tourism, 2020

In 2018, the national tourism administration’s budget was EUR 69.8 million. Of this total, EUR 39.6 million was administered by the Austrian Bank for Tourism Development, a specialist bank acting in a public-private partnership with the Ministry. This included EUR 23.9 million dedicated to financial support for SMEs. In addition, two special funding programmes for investments in tourism enterprises resulted in further spending of EUR 15.7 million, which explains the relatively sharp singular increase compared to previous years.

Almost EUR 24.4 million was directed to the annual budget of the Austrian National Tourist Office and a further EUR 5.8 million was disbursed by the Ministry in the form of individual subsidies for co-financing tourism projects and service contracts. Also, EUR 50 million from European Recovery Programme funds were made available for loans to tourism SMEs. In addition to the national budget, all nine Länder have their own tourism budgets to support their specific tourism development programmes.

copy the linklink copied!Tourism policies and programmes

In 2019, the Ministry published a new national tourism strategy, the Plan T – Master Plan for Tourism, which was reemphasised by the government programme of January 2020. It lays down guidelines for the sustainable development of tourism and serves as a guide for political decisions. Sustainability in all its dimensions and a culture of co-operation are central considerations to achieve a new quality of tourism policy (Box 3.6). The Plan is supplemented by an annual action plan, which contains concrete implementation measures and facilitates a rapid response to changes in a dynamic environment. Implementation involves widespread participation of public and private actors overseen by an Expert Council together with steering groups of the Länder. This is underpinned by annual Tourism Days, which are industry events organised by the Ministry, the Federal Economic Chamber and the Austrian National Tourist Office.

Key aspects of the Plan include:

  • Designing tourism in a way that allows for the harmonious co-existence of both tourists and the local population, such as surveys to fully understand impacts at the local level.

  • Improving the dialogue and initiating stronger co-operation with Länder, destinations, businesses, interest groups and stakeholders from other sectors.

  • Supporting digital transformation, such as by supporting tourism businesses to adapt, creating data alliances and expanding e-government services (Box).

  • Creating appropriate framework conditions for the tourism sector, including in the fields of taxation, business succession and new business models.

  • Optimising the quality of training and better exploiting the potential for inter-business measures to improve the attractiveness of working in tourism by for example developing employee benefit schemes or better accommodation facilities.

  • Working towards greater levels of sustainability, including by improving climate-friendly mobility and promoting further use of renewable energy by businesses and regions.

  • Intensifying co-operation between tourism and agriculture, including in the culinary sector.

  • Further developing tourism marketing, such as by rethinking destination management and optimising the use of new technologies.

  • Strengthening family-run and owner-managed enterprises by providing tailor-made financing and subsidy mechanisms as well as developing new financing mechanisms with a focus on equity.

  • Creating a future-oriented system of statistical indicators covering all three dimensions of sustainability.

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Fostering digitalisation in Austria

Digitalisation constitutes a major challenge for the tourism sector and affects the entire tourism value chain. At the same time, it offers manifold opportunities for innovation, productivity and tailor-made solutions for both demand and supply. The Federal Ministry has therefore put a major emphasis on digitalisation in its new tourism strategy Plan T – Masterplan for Tourism. A key measure is the establishment of a new future lab at the Austrian National Tourist Office: Next Level Tourism Austria (NETA). As a central innovation hub for the tourism sector, it will focus on complex technological applications and processes for single enterprises as well as regions, and thus be a frontrunner to respond to societal and technological developments triggered by digitalisation. Due to the different levels of digitalisation across the tourism sector, it is essential to support SMEs to adapt to these new technologies. In 2019, the Ministry sought innovative flagship projects involving the co-operation of SMEs in rural areas. The transformation of SMEs to a digital economy is also supported by the horizontal programme “KMU-Digital” of the Federal Ministry for Digital and Economic Affairs.

A related initiative on R&D Competences for Industry by the Austrian Research Promotion Agency was opened for the first time to tourism stakeholders in 2018. Focusing on supporting the development of digital expertise for SMEs, a total of EUR 1.2 million was awarded to four projects bridging higher education and research institutions, and tourism SMEs. The SMEs (and their employees) benefit from developing better digital understanding and qualifications, while education and research institutions get a closer insight into practical knowhow required by businesses for their day-to-day operations. Bringing both sides closer together also helps to improve the educational offer in the field.

More and more visitors consider sustainability, climate change and the active promotion of environmentally compatible tourism to be matters of great importance. Therefore, a number of activities have been implemented by the Federal Ministry. One specific measure is the use of the Climate and Energy Fund by the regions, in co-operation with the Ministry, to support communities to implement projects in the field of renewable energy, reduction of energy consumption and sustainable mobility. Since 2009, a number of “climate and energy model regions” have been established in Austria. In 2019, for the first time, a specific call was launched for tourism with a budget of EUR 1 million supporting the establishment of a showcase region for climate-friendly tourism within the next three years.

Beyond this, there are ongoing efforts to improve the regulatory framework and to reduce the administrative burden on tourism enterprises. For example, one measure taken in 2018 was to reduce VAT on overnight stays from 13% to 10%. Another measure foreseen in Plan T is the creation of a modern regulatory and organisational framework relating to the sharing economy.

copy the linklink copied!Statistical Profile

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Austria: Domestic, inbound and outbound tourism

2014

2015

2016

2017

2018

TOURISM FLOWS, THOUSAND

Domestic tourism

Total domestic trips

..

..

..

..

..

Overnight visitors (tourists)

12 265

12 697

13 343

13 619

14 033

Same-day visitors (excursionists)

..

..

..

..

..

Nights in all types of accommodation

35 668

36 425

38 014

38 523

39 390

Hotels and similar establishments

23 482

23 941

24 841

24 971

25 559

Other collective establishments

8 860

9 122

9 718

10 112

10 376

Private accommodation

3 326

3 362

3 455

3 441

3 454

Inbound tourism

Total international arrivals

..

..

..

..

..

Overnight visitors (tourists)

25 291

26 728

28 121

29 460

30 816

Same-day visitors (excursionists)

..

..

..

..

..

Top markets

Germany

11 750

12 141

12 986

13 443

14 092

Netherlands

1 672

1 735

1 863

1 935

2 001

Switzerland and Liechtenstein

1 310

1 400

1 446

1 454

1 445

Italy

1 051

1 123

1 102

1 102

1 099

United Kingdom

803

876

920

942

996

Nights in all types of accommodation

96 233

98 824

102 863

105 977

110 430

Hotels and similar establishments

61 830

63 355

65 244

66 642

68 331

Other collective establishments

16 269

16 981

18 155

19 403

20 962

Private accommodation

18 134

18 489

19 465

19 933

21 136

Outbound tourism

Total international departures

13 544

13 002

14 246

14 068

14 628

Overnight visitors (tourists)

10 994

10 628

11 534

11 491

11 883

Same-day visitors (excursionists)

2 549

2 374

2 712

2 577

2 745

Top destinations

Italy

2 033

1 971

2 178

2 221

2 330

Germany

2 347

2 297

2 324

2 189

2 196

Croatia

1 085

965

1 416

1 413

1 353

Spain

576

592

628

620

615

Greece

380

352

369

375

420

TOURISM RECEIPTS AND EXPENDITURE, MILLION EUR

Inbound tourism

Total international receipts

17 444

18 351

18 952

19 952

21 403

International travel receipts

15 676

16 435

17 401

18 112

19 559

International passenger transport receipts

1 768

1 916

1 551

1 840

1 844

Outbound tourism

Total international expenditure

10 189

10 195

10 462

11 300

12 091

International travel expenditure

8 329

8 408

8 800

9 454

10 143

International passenger transport expenditure

1 860

1 787

1 662

1 846

1 948

.. Not available

Source: OECD Tourism Statistics (Database).

 StatLink http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/888934076324

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Austria: Enterprises and employment in tourism

Number of establishments1

Number of persons employed

2017

2014

2015

2016

2017

2018

Total

..

..

..

..

..

..

Tourism industries

87 973

..

227 705

234 152

243 969

..

Accommodation services for visitors

..

..

..

..

..

..

Hotels and similar establishments

16 526

..

..

..

68 028

..

Food and beverage serving industry

30 948

..

..

..

112 075

..

Passenger transport

12 266

..

..

..

24 472

..

Air passenger transport

161

..

..

..

6 521

..

Railways passenger transport

32

..

..

..

3 442

..

Road passenger transport

11 973

..

..

..

14 310

..

Water passenger transport

100

..

..

..

199

..

Passenger transport supporting services

..

..

..

..

..

..

Transport equipment rental

2 543

..

..

..

287

..

Travel agencies and other reservation services industry

2 462

..

..

..

11 660

..

Cultural industry

21 589

..

..

..

17 302

..

Sports and recreation industry

1 639

..

..

..

10 146

..

Retail trade of country-specific tourism characteristic goods

..

..

..

..

..

..

Other country-specific tourism industries

..

..

..

..

..

..

Other industries

..

..

..

..

..

..

.. Not available

1. Data refer to number of enterprises.

Source: OECD Tourism Statistics (Database).

 StatLink http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/888934076343

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Austria: Internal tourism consumption
Million EUR

2017

Domestic tourism expenditure

Inbound tourism expenditure

Internal tourism consumption

Total

18 330

20 517

40 147

Consumption products

18 262

20 205

39 767

Tourism characteristic products

15 383

17 399

32 782

Accommodation services for visitors

4 827

8 036

12 863

Food and beverage serving services

4 952

5 453

10 405

Passenger transport services

3 771

1 786

5 557

Air passenger transport services

2 185

1 480

3 665

Railways passenger transport services

845

277

1 121

Road passenger transport services

618

17

635

Water passenger transport services

123

13

136

Passenger transport supporting services

..

..

..

Transport equipment rental services

249

6

254

Travel agencies and other reservation services industry

105

0

105

Cultural services

1 087

832

1 919

Sports and recreation services

394

1 287

1 680

Country-specific tourism characteristic goods

..

..

..

Country-specific tourism characteristic services

..

..

..

Other consumption products

2 879

2 806

6 985

Tourism connected products

..

..

..

Non-tourism related consumption products

..

..

..

Non-consumption products

68

312

380

.. Not available

Source: OECD Tourism Statistics (Database).

 StatLink http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/888934076362

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