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On Wednesday, March 09, the Austrian Tourist Board held an info session and business lunch, with a delegation of key Austrian tourism players met with Israeli tourism operators and journalists at the Carlton Hotel in Tel Aviv. Vienna was recently selected as the travel destination to go to in 2022, and the meeting offered the opportunity to network and coordinate as the world looks to leave Covid-19 travel restrictions behind.

Among the participants at the meeting were representatives of the Austrian National Tourist Office; Austrian Airlines; D. Swarovski Tourism Services; History of Art Museum Wien; Interalpen Hotel Tyro; Jewish Museum Vienna; Ritz-Carlton Vienna; Schönbrunn Palace, and Schönbrunn Zoo.

Mr. Markus Haas, the Commercial Attaché of the Austrian Embassy in Israel, opened the event by noting that prior to the onset of Covid 19, Israeli tourism to Austria had tripled, with a peak of 822,452 Israeli tourists in 2019. In August 2021, when the corona restrictions were temporarily lifted, Vienna recorded 32,000 overnight stays by Israeli tourists, a 25% increase compared to the year before the plague, indicating that the trend will only continue. Israel is ranked 11th for all sources of tourism to Austria.

Mrs. Lily Freudmayer, Director of the Ministry of Tourism of Austria told the participants that "Israel is very important for the tourism market in Austria," with Israeli tourism constituting the largest non-European market for tourism to Austria in 2021. In addition to the well-known tourist attractions in Vienna, Lily Freudmeier also discussed lesser known but equally appealing sites in Western Austria, such as Carinthia, Styria and Forarlberg.

Mr. Ofer Kisch General Manager of Lufthansa Group Israel explain that "Getting to Austria will be even easier soon: Austrian Airlines currently operates about seven weekly flights from Vienna to Tel Aviv, and is preparing to increase the frequency to 14 flights weekly by the summer."

With so many impressive sites to visit, the most difficult choice may be what to see and how long to stay for. The director of the Jewish Museum of Vienna, Dr. Daniela Spera presented photographs from the museum, the first Jewish museum in the world, founded in 1885.

Guests also learned about the Vienna Kunstkammer Museum, with its 2,200 works of art, the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna, home to masterpieces by Rubens, Rembrandt, Raphael, and Vermeer, as well as the world's largest collection of works by Brueghel, and Schönbrunn Palace, a 160 dunam palace and park that is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and houses the Schonbrunn Zoo, the oldest zoo in the world.

The sales manager of the Ritz Carlton Hotel in central Vienna, Stefanie Pirolt, presented "the largest luxury hotel in Vienna", while Gerakdine Beideck, sales manager at the Interalpen Hotel in the Seefeld Plateau, showed stunning landscape photos from the hotel's location nestled among snow-capped mountains. Eurotours, which organizes vacations for 1.3 million people annually and has 1,900 distribution partners in 70 countries, and 2,500 hotel partners, was also on hand to develop partnerships with Israeli tour operators. With so many wonderful options, the only question left is when to book your next trip to Austria!

 The COVID-19 measures will be largely lifted in Austria in the coming weeks. This means that travelling and staying there will gradually become less complicated and nothing will stand in the way of tourists carefree spring skiing from 5 March


 AustrianNational Tourist Office


Photos credit Silvia G. Golan 

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