- Austria is unusually well positioned to develop a broad tourist clientele. Though the largest segment of foreign visitors comes from the Federal Republic of Germany, who can reach their southern neighbor easily by car and have no language problems when they arrive, Austria has many attractions for people throughout the world. For the culturally minded, it has rich musical and artistic traditions, epitomized by such institutions as the Salzburg Festival, the Vienna State Opera, and the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra. For winter athletes, it has the Alps. For European travelers in general, it is a transit area where many must stay, if only overnight. Austrians themselves are some of their country’s best customers, favoring both Alpine skiing resorts and, in the summer, the lakes of Carinthia. Few states have turned themselves so single-mindedly to developing a tourist infrastructure as has Austria. Its hotels and restaurants, considerably behind Western standards even in the 1960s, now offer comforts and conveniences that meet the expectations of the most discriminating guests. Many such enterprises are still in family hands, particularly outside of the city of Vienna. Although efficiency experts deplore such arrangements, they often bring with them memorably pleasant personal service and return trips.These efforts have made tourism a cornerstone of the Austrian economy. Austria leads the European Union in terms of per capita income from tourist enterprise. Since the end of World War I, Austria has depended very heavily on tourism from abroad to maintain a favorable balance of trade. Only with the beginning of the 21st century did this situation consistently appear to have reversed itself. Nevertheless, with 32 million visitors from abroad in 2007, Austria continues to cultivate itself as a tourist target. The state underwrites 32 Austrian tourist offices throughout the world and actively markets itself in 61 countries.See also Germany, Relations with.
Historical dictionary of Austria. Paula Sutter Fichtner. 2014.
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