Austria Tourist Board’s new CEO outlines key focuses

Astrid Steharnig-Staudinger dances into first day on the job

Austrian National Tourist Office welcomed a new Chief Executive Officer to its ranks with Astrid Steharnig-Staudinger taking office and immediately fronting the local industry at two crucial annual tourism events in Vienna this week – Austrian Tourism Day and the two-day Austrian Travel Business (atb) fair.

This week’s atb show attracted 350 top international buyers and media representatives (including LATTE) from some 40 countries.

Steharnig-Staudinger has deep-rooted knowledge in the tourism industry, racking up more than 20 years of experience in marketing and sales for international hotel groups and across destination marketing with stints at Vienna Tourism. She also founded and was the managing director of her own business, Linking Brands.

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Steharnig-Staudinger said demand for holidays in Austria is at a high level, and for some markets the booking levels are exceeding the level of 2019.

“Our current study for the summer shows that the number of permanent Austria planners from the ten markets surveyed, i.e. those people who are most likely planning a summer vacation in Austria, is back to the pre-corona level at 20 million. This puts us 3 million higher than in our study from last year.

“From today’s perspective, we can therefore expect a very good summer. The booking situation in our most important markets is excellent and in some cases above the level of 2019. We

are also hearing from distant markets such as the USA, China or Southeast Asia that demand for holidays in Austria is developing very well. So we can look to the coming summer season with optimism,” Steharnig-Staudinger added.

Sustainability is a megatrend for Austria. In recent years there has been an even stronger movement in sustainability, which is proving increasingly popular based on the booking decisions of tourists and the expanding offering of local companies.

Sustainability has become an essential booking factor today and is a decisive aspect in the travel decision. Many Austrian companies are already prepared for this change. Research has shown potential visitors are willing to pay more for sustainable offers at a hotel.

This group is more willing to pay than the rest of the population, more often willing to book offers with additional sustainable offer modules and to spend up to six times more for them.

While still very green in her new role, Steharnig-Staudinger – a classical dancer – said she was looking forward o partnering with Austrian operators, saying “it takes two to tango”.

The atb event holds a close affinity with Steharnig-Staudinger, saying since the age of 15 she has had the vision to lead ANTO. She also met her future-husband at the conference several years ago.

Lead image: Susanne Kraus-Winkler, Harold Mahrer and Astrid Steharnig-Staudinger.

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