“It’s going uphill from month to month,” comments Oliver Fritz, tourism expert at the Economic Research Institute (Wifo), on the development of bookings in Austria. “While the number of overnight stays in December was still 46.5 percent below the same month in 2019, the drop was 32.6 percent in January, 25 percent in February and 19.1 percent in March,” explains Fritz on the sidelines of the ÖHV Hoteliers Congress this week in Vienna .
There is a lack of business travelers and tourists from overseas in the federal capital. “I’m skeptical that cities will ever reach pre-crisis levels again,” says Fritz. Also for ecological reasons. Because if Europe takes its environmental protection seriously, flying will inevitably become more expensive and taxed more heavily. Fritz: “I’m not sure if we’ll see flights to London for 20 euros again.”
In addition, business people tend to turn on the camera on their computer rather than board a plane for a two-hour business meeting. “I’m more optimistic when it comes to congresses, as they are also attended because of the communication outside of the official program. You can’t put that in the virtual world.”