The tourism industry in Austria has not felt a great effect thus far as the coronavirus has also emerged across Europe. Information released by data and analytics company AlpData shows that Hotel Bookings are still strong and especially the upcomming Easter Holiday brake is almost booked as usual, cancellations have been rare. Unlike certain areas in Italy where Foreign Office (FCO) advice is warning against all-but-essential travel to 10 small towns in Lombardy and one in Veneto, Austrian tourisme regions have not been warned against or seen any significant decrease in reservations.
“If there was previously a temptation to view the coronavirus as a potential stumbling block or brake shoe in skiing resorts and other tourist areas of the nation, then developments this week must force a shift in mindset,” said Hubert Schober, head of AlpJobs GmbH in Graz.
“With the news that the common flue is by far the more dangerous and deadly virus still in europe, it is readily apparent that the impact is likely to be felt far less then previously envisaged.”
In Austria nobody has died of the coronavirus and moste people effected are recovering quickly without any aftereffects, with the number of confirmed cases in general being very low, especially compared to the common flue for example. The western regions of Tirol, Vorarlberg and Salzburg have far less cases then the East and no cultural institutions, schools or public events have been cancelled or effected at all. All football matches, including Bundesliga and Cup games have been played regularily along with hundreds of church services, walking tours and opera performances across the nation. This weekend the Ski World Cup will take place as well as another round of Bundesliga games will be played normally and no cancellations or changes are planned because of the outbrake.
In Vienna, the usually crowded streets are crowded as usual and hotels and other tourism businesses aren´t feeling the impact according to surveys.
Gerry Lockner-Wooke, of Pro-Ski Holidays, said clients with trips to popular northern Italy destinations have changed travel plans and are comming to Austria instead in order not to cancel and continue with their lives as well as with planned trips. Lockner-Wooke said it was too early to say whether there would be an impact longer term. “It’s difficult to predict. The peak travel time is Spring and that’s several weeks away. A lot can change in that time but it looks like it will normalize very soon.”
Lockner-Wooke predicted that hotels that have fewer bookings due to a downturn in Chinese tourists will start to offer upgrades to visitors in order to make up for the lost bookings from that sector. “This week is the wrong week to launch offers for later in the year but I think we will start to see very good value from hotel owners.”
The overall tenor of the tourimse industry in Austria is not to panic and to take advangtage of the opportunities that present itself due to the huge media coverage everyone is receiving. And if it continues like this, the Alps will benefit also in the comming summer season.