Tourism officials in Vienna expect a stagnation of overnight stay numbers in 2012.
Norbert Kettner, who heads the Viennese Tourism Board, said today (Mon) a “dent” in the statistics was likely to occur in the first half of this year. Speaking to newspaper Die Presse, Kettner added that the situation would improve between July and December. The tourism marketing official underlined that making forecasts was a difficult task these days. He explained that his predictions were linked to what economists expected for the new year.
The Institute for Advanced Studies (IHS) said last month Austria’s gross domestic product (GDP) would rise by only 0.8 per cent from 2011 to 2012. This prediction came just three months after the IHS forecast an improvement of 1.3 per cent. The Institute for Economic Research (WIFO), another leading economic research group based in Vienna, said in December the Austrian GDP had the chance to leap by 0.4 per cent this year. WIFO added that the Eurozone’s GDP would not grow at all from 2011 to the current year.
Kettner revealed that the number of overnight stays in Vienna by Spaniards and people from Japan rose strongly in the first 11 months of 2011 compared to the same time span in 2010 – despite the dire state of the states’ economies. He added that the overall number of overnight stays recorded by hotels and guesthouses in Vienna in 2011 could be a new all-time record. Final figures have not yet been released.
Around 10.4 million overnight stays took place in the Austrian capital between January and November 2011, 4.7 per cent more than in the first 11 months of 2010. Approximately 10.86 million overnight stays were counted in the city in 2010. The figure was a record. It surpassed numbers registered in 2008 when Austria and Switzerland cooperated in organising the European Football Championship. Several matches – including the final between Spain and Germany (1-0) took place at Vienna’s Ernst Happel Stadium in June and July 2008.
A standard double room in Vienna cost 134 Euros last month, significantly more than in November (119 Euros). However the December rate was less than hotels charged in September (148 Euros) and October (138 Euros). International hotel price comparison platform Trivago also found that a double room at a Viennese hotel cost 121 Euros on average in August of 2011.
Room prices could soon rise significantly due to a tax hike. The Viennese government coalition – formed by the Social Democrats (SPÖ) of Mayor Michael Häupl and Maria Vassilakou’s Green Party – decided last month to raise the charge hotel bosses have to pay to the city hall per guest and night from 2.8 per cent to 3.2 per cent this year. Kettner said he expected hoteliers to pass on the costs and jack up hotel room prices.
The increase of the hotel charge was just one in a series of tax hikes commissioned by the city coalition. SPÖ and Greens also agreed on upping parking ticket prices, fees for water supply and waste disposal and the so-called U-Bahn tax. The term describes a charge firms with at least one employee working 10 hours a week or more must hand over to the city administration. The tax was introduced in the 1970s to finance the construction of Vienna’s underground network. Money generated this way is nowadays spent on the improvement of the Viennese public transport network.