Vienna calls for more ‘life-seeing’ tourists


The city of Vienna is trying to attract more affable tourists. — Pixabay

Instead of visiting the famous opera house, get a private lesson with a professional Viennese musician. Instead of bus tour through the city, wander around an exhibition with the museum director.

Instead of taking a Viennese cafe selfie, spend an evening preparing food with a local traditional business.

With a more nuanced approach to exploring the city – or what tourism officials are calling life-seeing instead of sightseeing – the city of Vienna is trying to pull in more rich tourists.

“We are taking advantage of the increasing demand for exclusive, hyper-individualised offers away from the mass market,” tourism director Norbert Kettner said, announcing a push to draw in deep-pocketed tourists.

While central city sights like St Stephen’s Cathedral and the Hofburg Palace will remain the destination for most tourists, Vienna now wants to invite more tourists to leave the beaten track.

As a part of this campaign, a number of districts outside the city centre are being promoted in an effort to get guests to experience something new, genuine and authentic, Kettner says.

More than half of visitors to Vienna have been to the city before and there are many return visitors who want to see more than just the historic centre, known for its stunning architecture.

The strategy is aimed at high earners, particularly rich people from China, but also applies to travellers from the United States, France, Germany and the Arab world, Kettner said, presenting Austria’s annual tourism report for 2023 in late January.

Vienna is already pulling in more cash from tourists than ever before, and the city last year broke its record for revenue from overnight stays, earning €1.1bil (RM5.65bil) from January to November 2023.

According to the tourism association, Austria’s capital last year also almost equalled its previous record tourist numbers, and remains a popular destination above all with citizens from the US and neighbouring Germany and Italy.

Some 17.3 million overnight stays represented an increase of 31% compared to 2022, which is only 2% below the record set in 2019, tourism officials say.

“Vienna’s tourism is as international again as it was before the pandemic,” Kettner said. – dpa

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