Kitzbuehel backpedals on Russian quota

9th February 2007, Comments 0 comments

9 February 2007, Vienna (dpa) - After a surge of media reports on an unofficial 10 per cent quota for Russian guests, Kitzbuehel tourism officials backpeddled, calling it a "misunderstanding." Kitzbuehel, a major Austrian ski resort, had responded to concerns that it was attracting more guests from Russia than it could handle. There had also been fears that too many Russians might keep away other guests, Austrian media reported. Christian Harisch, chairman of Kitzbuehel's tourism board, said that hotel own

9 February 2007

Vienna (dpa) - After a surge of media reports on an unofficial 10 per cent quota for Russian guests, Kitzbuehel tourism officials backpeddled, calling it a "misunderstanding."

Kitzbuehel, a major Austrian ski resort, had responded to concerns that it was attracting more guests from Russia than it could handle.

There had also been fears that too many Russians might keep away other guests, Austrian media reported.

Christian Harisch, chairman of Kitzbuehel's tourism board, said that hotel owners in the upmarket Tyrolean resort had not made an internal agreement on a quota.

Initial reports on the 10-percent rule found a huge echo in international and - especially - Russian media, triggering fears of a negative backlash.

In recent years, the number of Russian visitors to Austria has increased significantly, with upmarket ski resorts and cities like Vienna or Salzburg the main beneficiaries from Russia's new wealth and growing urban middle class.

Russians for example are the third-largest group among the guests in the Tyrolean resorts Soelden and Mayrhofen.

Austrian tourism officials last year reported increases by up to 20 per cent for visitors from Russia and the Ukraine.

The influx of Russian guests is however not universally welcome, although concerns are discussed only reluctantly. Hotel managers privately fear that other guests might stay away if too many Russians were present.

Quoting similar problems in Swiss resorts, Kitzbuehel's hotel association apparently decided on a 10-per-cent quota for Russian guests.

Kitzbuehel tourism director Renate Danler told the Austrian public TV channel ORF that interest from Russian tour operators in Kitzbuehel was big, but the town could only take a limited number due to bookings from other international operators.

If the share of Russian guests was above 10 per cent, further requests would be rejected. A certain imbalance developed if too many guests of one nation were in a hotel, the head of the association, Rupert Mayr-Reisch said.

Kitzbuehel's decision met with sharp criticism from the Austrian Hotel Association.

President Sepp Schellhorn said the quota was "absurd and very short-sighted." He added that this decision was counterproductive and discriminating.

The bulk of tourists in Kitzbuehel was from Germany, and no-one considered introducing German guest quotas, Schellhorn argued.

DPA

Subject: German news

0 Comments To This Article