At the end of last week, the Austrian federal government announced its first steps towards the reopening of gastronomy, hotels, culture and sports – under strict conditions. This means that summer tourism will slowly but surely be possible again from May onwards. Businesses in Tyrol have prepared extensively for this new start and the demand for holidays and pulling power of the province fills politicians and industry representatives with optimism. As part of the digital talk series “Tyrol Talks”, tourism experts will unveil their preparations and perspectives for summer holidays and discuss them together with the international press.
“With the announcement of the initial roadmap to reopening, there is now a perspective – for the industries and sectors concerned, for whom it is impossible to just open up overnight, and for the people, who have no greater desire than for life to just return to normal,” emphasises Tyrol’s Governor, Günther Platter.
Safety has upmost priority
In any case, Tyrol is well prepared for tourism to resume. “Safety must be the focal point of every stay in Tyrol. The foremost expectation of every guest is to be able to spend a safe holiday in our province,” said Platter, who is convinced that the industry will prove that Tyrol is one of the safest and healthiest holiday destinations. With this in mind, the time was also used to analyse developments and improve tourism strategies, which will be presented in June. In principle, Tyrol does not have to reinvent tourism, but adaptations will be made where necessary, in order to develop quality and increase the value adding chain.
As responsible hosts, the businesses and tourism associations have developed comprehensive safety and hygiene concepts, appointed their own COVID officers, created online platforms with information on safe holidays and implemented digital registration tools if needed. Moreover, the province offers both its guests and employees an unparalleled testing system, so no one needs to worry about the availability of a Corona test, while great strides are being made in vaccinating the nation. “Tourism businesses have prepared meticulously for the new start, the holiday region of Tyrol is ready”, Platter explains.
The desire to travel is greater than ever
“After the difficult months of the pandemic and complete loss of the winter season, our aim is to get straight back on track for success. In this context, it is extremely positive that current studies highlight the great appeal of the Tyrol brand,” explains Platter. According to a survey on summer potential, every second German holidaymaker planning to travel to Austria, wants to come to Tyrol. Current surveys also show that the desire to travel is undiminished, or even greater than before. 47 percent of potential holidaymakers from Austria and 60 percent from Germany are planning to take a longer trip of more than five days as soon as they can. Moreover, Tyrol is considered a most desirable holiday destination, especially by Germans, as a study published a few days ago by the Innsbruck-based IMARK Institute clearly demonstrates.
Florian Phleps, CEO of Tirol Tourist Board
Sharp rise in interest for holidays in Tyrol
“Interest in Tyrol is currently on the rise and, with the announced roadmap to reopening, concrete enquiries are coming in again,” confirms Florian Phleps, Managing Director of the Tyrol Tourist Board, with regards to the current data. Tyrol offers perfect conditions, especially when it comes to enjoying active recreation in alpine nature. The clever combination of the regions’ special characteristics with nature-oriented and sustainable holiday offers, is turning into a formula for success. Tyrol has enormous potential in this area, Phleps emphasises.
A survey of the mood in the tourism regions across Tyrol also confirms that a more optimistic outlook is gradually spreading throughout the province. “Our tourism associations rate the attraction of Tyrol as a holiday destination – especially when it comes to important markets such as Germany, Switzerland and the Netherlands – as very strong or strong,” said Phleps.
“For this summer’s guests, safety and hygiene measures will continue to be decisive when choosing a destination,” says Phleps. The Tirol Tourist Board is therefore focusing on high quality information for both guests and hosts, by creating two new websites, www.welcome.tirol and www.sichere-gastfreundschaft.tirol. Over the next few weeks, these pages will be filled with information for the coming summer, as soon as specific regulations are announced.
Tirol Advertising based on real-time data
Tourism marketing has also been ramped up again. An advertising campaign started in Tyrol in March and then from mid-April throughout Austria and Switzerland. Further important markets, such Germany, Netherlands, Belgium, Italy and Czech Republic will follow in mid-May. “We used the pandemic to reposition ourselves technically. In particular, campaign planning and implementation are now based on real-time data. In this way, we can guarantee that the message we want to convey has already hit home when the desire to travel kicks in, ”says Phleps. The current image campaign entitled “Making Memories” deliberately focuses on emotional messages and is combined with promotions for specific target audiences.
Tyrol’s holiday hosts look forward to welcoming their guests
Across the province, Tyrol’s holiday hosts are looking forward to reopening and welcoming their guests again, many of whom have been spending their holidays here for years.
This is also the case for Elisabeth Gürtler, who garnered international repute through the “Sacher” brand, and offers spa holidays combined with mountain experiences at the 5-star resort “Astoria” in the Olympiaregion Seefeld: “The safety of our guests and employees is our top priority, because this is a fundamental requirement when choosing a destination for a holiday and ensures a carefree time and sustainable relaxation in our hotel.”
And Maria Steindl from the “Unterwirt” gourmet hotel can hardly wait to pamper her guests again. The “Unterwirt” has long since veered away from the well-trodden tourist trail: “Our stance is not standard, but excellence. The fun challenge is to combine what has grown historically with the future. For example, we want to show that contemporary food culture and tradition are not a contradiction in terms. “
Elisabeth Gürtler, Managing Director of Hotel Astroria 5* Seefeld and Sacher GmbH
Sustainability as a new value
Ambros Gasser, managing director of ASI-Reisen, is also interested in new values. Sustainability, regional added value and minimised CO2 emissions – are the parameters according to which Gasser has not only aligned his globally offered active and adventure tours, but also shaped the ASI Nest, the new company headquarters near Innsbruck. “We orient our business activities strongly towards the 17 goals for sustainability on an economic, ecological and social level, as formulated by the United Nations. I think it is good and important for these values to be incorporated into the strategic direction of tourism in Tyrol.”
Ambross Gasser, CEO of ASI Reisen and WeDesignTrips