Friday, July 4, 2008

Austria tops 10 million guests

Massive early snowfalls and excellent Easter conditions provided a solid white base for the best ever winter season in Austria. For the first time the country welcomed more than 10 Million winter guests from abroad. In comparison to the previous winter this represents an increase of 2.7%.
Looking back on a record-breaking winter, Oskar Hinteregger, director of the Austrian National Tourist Office, London, commented, “Winter 07/08 was a compact season that provided excellent occupancy levels from mid-December to the end of April, predominately due to the early Easter date. Austria’s 263 cable car companies invested more than 530 Million Euros in upgrading lift- and snowmaking equipment, pistes and infrastructure. A similar amount is earmarked in order to guarantee improvements in the overall convenience of a ski holiday. Bespoke services, online equipment hire, easy airport transfers, heated lifts, doorstep skiing and sustainable mountain and resort management are what guests demand. Austria is well positioned to satisfy these demands and forward bookings have reached unprecedented levels. All tour operators and most airlines are already accepting bookings until the end of next season”.
The timing of winter holidays has been a crucial factor and with Easter Holidays starting a lot later next year, the choice of ski resorts will be reduced. Pre-Christmas winter breaks may be a good alternative, especially considering this season’s early snowfalls. Schladming and Kitzbuehel, for example, both opened well before December and early bookers enjoyed excellent conditions and affordable rates. Many operators offer early booking incentives, which constitute an excellent choice for those wanting to avoid the bustle and premium prices of high season.