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Heading in the Right Direction!

After two years shaped by the pandemic, 2022 was a time of new beginnings. Vienna's city tourism slowly but surely regained its established position, achieving impressive growth over the course of the year. Put simply, Vienna's visitor economy has turned the corner! In 2022, the capital recorded 5.6 million arrivals and 13.2 million overnight stays – equivalent to around three-quarters of the pre-pandemic 2019 totals. And there’s more good news: net overnight revenue for accommodation providers grew even faster, with the EUR 884 million generated in 2022 only around 13% short of the all-time high reported in 2019.

Vienna's accommodation sector expanded once again in 2022 with 37,000 rooms with 71,000 beds in 398 hotels and thus fully offsetting the pandemic-induced decreases in full by year end. This comes as a clear indication that confidence in the destination remains high. Substantial investment in renovating existing hotels and the construction of new accommodations provides further proof that Vienna is emerging from the pandemic with a higher-quality offering and a wealth of innovative concepts. All of this was made possible by the spirited support of all of the stakeholders in the city's visitor economy. We would like to express our sincere gratitude to every single one of you for this, as the underlying situation was anything but easy.

In addition to Covid-19, Vienna's tourism industry – like global tourism in general – was confronted with a host of other crises: for the first time in decades, war returned to Europe in 2022. Apart from the human suffering, the economic effects of the conflict weighed heavily on this industry, which thrives on international cooperation and understanding like no other. The energy crisis, inflation and the associated price increases in all areas of life, as well as internal displacement and a greater prevalence of short-term bookings in response to the overall situation all exerted enormous pressure on the tourism industry.

But there is a ray of light among all the clouds: 2022 was not just shaped by the return of nearby European markets; the first long-distance markets also bounced back during the year. The USA, Vienna's largest long-distance market, made a strong comeback, even outperforming its 2019 totals in November and December. And for the first time Israel ranked among Vienna's top 10 long-distance markets in terms of overnight stays – a claim staked by China before the outbreak of the pandemic. Even so, news reached us in late 2022 of an imminent end to the country’s zero-Covid policy, which bodes well for long-held hopes of a resurgence in travel from Asia. That said, at the time of writing this foreword, it is still not possible to give a clear assessment of how strong the region’s return will be, or how rapidly the situation will develop.

In any case, Vienna has certainly set the course for the future! In our Visitor Economy Strategy, which we unveiled in 2019, we clearly distanced ourselves from the idea of equating tourism success with unchecked growth in visitor overnight totals. It is no accident that our post-pandemic mission statement underlines our commitment to bringing value and year-round jobs to the city through high-quality growth that minimizes the negative impact on the local community and the environment as far as possible. Even though we were compelled to adjust the targets for our key indicators as a result of Covid-19, the underlying strategy remains unchanged. Advantageous development of tourism in a way that reflects the needs of the population and ending the pursuit of endless record-setting remains our primary concern. Alongside the stakeholders in Vienna's visitor economy, we are striving to enhance environmental, economic and social sustainability. This annual report explains how we went about pursuing these goals in 2022 and looks at the activities and priorities we set globally, in spite of the restrictions necessitated by the pandemic. We wish you an enjoyable read and every success in 2023!

© WienTourismus/Rainer Fehringer

Peter Hanke
Executive City Councilor of Finance, Business, Labour,
International Affairs and Vienna Public Utilities,
President, Vienna Tourist Board

Norbert Kettner
Vienna Tourist Board

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