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Austria pushes new options to the GCC travel trade

The Austrian National Tourist Office (ANTO) is on a mission to promote the country’s lesser-known attractions.

The Austrian National Tourist Office (ANTO) is on a mission to promote the country’s lesser-known attractions.

GCC travellers typically opt for the capital Vienna, and Alpine locations such as Kitzbühel and Zell am See, which are key highlights of Emirates Holidays’ brochures.

But the ANTO’s recently appointed Middle East director, Klaus Ehrenbrandtner, is planning a marketing campaign to raise trade and consumer awareness of key Austrian destinations such as Innsbruck, Gastein, and the country’s famous lake district, Salzkammergut.

He also plans to promote year-round travel, particularly in December when traditional pre-Christmas markets in Vienna make for good weekend break opportunities, particularly when the city is just a five-and-a-half-hour plane journey from Dubai.

“We want to promote cultural and medical tourism. We have some very exclusive products when it comes to healthcare and treatments, and for the first-time this year, hoteliers in Vienna said visitors from the Middle East were interested in the city’s festivals,” explained Ehrenbrandtner.

Gastein, he said, offered wellness and convalescence centres, a product he was currently promoting to the region’s travel trade partners such as Emirates Holidays and wholesaler, Destinations of the World.

Ehrenbrandtner is also joining forces with Austrian Airlines and the destination tourist offices of Austria, to create a coordinated marketing strategy for the GCC.

One of the group’s first projects will be to launch a glossy brochure highlighting the aforementioned destinations and products, that will be distributed through the travel trade, and at ATM.

In a bid to educate the travel trade, Ehrenbrandtner will embark on a GCC sales mission this month and said fam trips for key agents were planned for next year.

The GCC market accounted for 131,687 bed nights in Austria from January to July, a 23.7% increase on the same period in 2005. Total bed nights for 2005 hit the 265,227 mark, a 59% increase on 2004.

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