The Christmas business is partly over. But tourism traditionally recovers quickly from crises.

While Tyrol’s tourism chairman Mario Gerber is looking forward to “very positive feedback from the core markets” about the upcoming start of the season, there is sadness among the Viennese hoteliers.

Vera Kremslehner is affected by the lockdown several times. It has four hotels in Vienna including a seminar shop, several restaurants and catering for several theaters in the city. In short, currently exactly zero business, but 220 employees (before the outbreak of the pandemic there were 280) and a lot of costs that continue undeterred.

“We were fully booked on November 19, when the lockdown began, and had to send all of the guests home overnight.” Her hotels would also have been booked next weekend and the weekend after that, if the entrepreneur is annoyed by the tightened measures Vienna.


Vera Kremslehner has four hotels in Vienna: “We were fully booked”

To reopen the gates on December 20th is “practically free” for the hotel business. After all, hardly anyone would have time for a city trip so shortly before Christmas. She also remains skeptical about the New Year’s Eve business, although 80 percent of her city hotels are currently booked. “I’m afraid that New Year’s Eve will not be particularly attractive for tourists without the New Year’s Eve Trail and with a curfew at 11 p.m.” Then come January and February, two months with traditionally little business in the city hotel industry.

From the point of view of Michaela Reitterer, spokeswoman for the Austrian Hotel Association (ÖHV), a solution like the one in Switzerland would also have been desirable for Austria. There the hotels were allowed to stay open in the previous winter season, including catering, but only for house guests.

Stricter controls

Meanwhile, the government has announced that it will monitor compliance with the corona rules more strictly in the future. In the event of violations, the companies are threatened with repayment of the aid payments made. There must finally be an end to the “winking sausage”, says Health Minister Mückstein on Marienfeiertag. Kremslehner shares this view. “We were sometimes laughed at because we not only checked the vaccination records, but also scanned them.” The only positive thing is that experience shows that tourism kicks in quickly when the general conditions change. “Tourists from France, Italy or Spain came back quickly when the situation in their country normalized.”

The Austrians also traveled more frequently in the summer. “There was a lot of catching up to do on summer vacation this year,” says Tobias Thomas, General Director of Statistics Austria. Between July and September, the Austrians made 8.3 million trips (including visits to relatives and friends) and thus more than before the outbreak of the corona pandemic.

By Editor

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