Gruchmann-Licht has more to give, returns to tourism

ANTO's ex-ANZ Director lands contract with Salzburg State Board of Tourism

Austria Tourism’s former Australian Director Astrid Gruchmann-Licht has made a surprisingly fast return to the travel industry representing her home state of Salzburg, LATTE can reveal.

Speaking exclusively with LATTE in Vienna this week, Gruchmann-Licht has launched her own management consultancy to assist businesses in further developing international strategies.

Gruchmann-Licht was the founding director of the Austrian National Tourist Office in Australia. She held the role for 32 years before stepping down last November amid a shake-up to the Australian operation, now overseen by Market Representative, Kathrina Denk, in Sydney, who reports to Emanuel Lehner-Telic, Head of Market Asia-Pacific, based in Bangkok.

The ex-ANZ Austrian National Tourist Office boss returned to her roots of Salzburg state five months ago, following her heart to live with her husband. Back in Austria, the dual citizen focuses on her studies in the field of logotherapy: a meaning-centred, value-based and future-orientated approach to help clients reach their full potential in life. [Logotherapy was founded by Viktor Frankl, a Viennese neurologist and psychiatrist, and the author of “Man’s Search for Meaning”].

Astrid Gruchmann-Licht

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With over three decades of creative and strategic firsthand tourism experience under her belt, the highly experienced marketer-turned-entrepreneur launched her own business last month – aptly named Astrid Gruchmann-Licht – specialising in consulting, coaching, tourism and culture.

Gruchmann-Licht’s first contract is with Salzburg State Board of Tourism, in the role of Senior Representative. It’s a position the Salzburg raised culture queen was born to fill, viewing the role as a golden opportunity to continue to raise awareness of that region of Austria to international markets. She was in London last week to meet with media partners on her first mission.

Pictured at her ANTO farewell event in late October, Astrid Gruchmann-Licht with Louise Herron, CEO Sydney Opera House.

Leo Bauernberger, CEO of Salzburg State Board of Tourism told LATTE he was thrilled to have someone with Gruchmann-Licht’s marketing prowess join his team on a contractual basis. Her home on the edge of town is a five-minute cycle from the tourism bureau’s headquarters.

“When I heard she was returning to Austria and that she had no firm work commitments, I saw that as the perfect opportunity to ask her to work for her home state.”

“It’s a huge chance to have Astrid coach and develop our young marketing team here.”

“More than 30 years of international work and business from far away is enormous experience and we are so happy to have her onboard. Astrid has so much know-how so it’s a win-win,” Bauernberger said.

Leo Bauernberger, CEO of Salzburg State Board of Tourism and Astrid Gruchmann-Licht at the Austria Tourism Day in Vienna this week.

Gruchmann-Licht added that her responsibilities are “also about helping with the continuous internationalisation of the tourism product of the state of Salzburg. For me, that’s a real privilege because I’ve been living in the Antipodes of my home state and now, fate brings me back within a stone’s throw of the office.”

“In our overseas markets the name ‘Salzburg’ is often understood to be the city, not the state. While the city of Salzburg is the capital of the state and rightfully world-renowned for its attractions, there is so much more to discover for our guests in the whole state. Lakes and mountains, some of the best skiing in the country, historic towns, outdoor pursuits like hiking and biking, an outstanding culinary offering and the highest level of organic farming in the world, to name but a few.”

“I never anticipated being back in the industry so soon,” Gruchmann-Licht said of her return, “apart from some possible project work for my previous employer, the Austrian National Tourist Office.”

This week she hosted the Australian delegation at the annual atb conference in Vienna.

The Australian delegation, pictured at the Johann Strauss Statue in Vienna's Stadtpark during atb 2023, included (from left) Ankica Banic, representing Intrepid; Dana Garofani, UTracks, host Astrid Gruchmann-Licht and Nick Gordon, Limelight Arts Travel.

Gruchmann-Licht calls her new business a “passion-project”. She sees it as a way to integrate her tourism expertise with her interest in furthering potential, not only on a geographical but on a human level.

Additional focus areas for Gruchmann-Licht include cross-culture tourism. Her ties with Australia and Austria (and Europe) provide her with a unique understanding of both, particularly in the arts and music space, as well as her deep-rooted love for nature and the outdoors.

Her new venture could open opportunities to re-engage with partners in Australia, which she still plans to call home for around three months of the year. To connect with Astrid, email

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