Destination Strategy


The Vienna Tourism Strategy 2020 presented at the Vienna Tourism Conference 2014 is based on the theme “Global.Smart.Premium”. An international advisory board of experts worked alongside the Vienna Tourist Board’s strategy group established in 2002 to develop the Tourism Strategy*. The group organized an “Open Innovation” ideas competition to provide additional inspiration for the strategy development process. In this, the general public all over the world was invited to contribute new, unconventional and by all means provocative suggestions for the destination Vienna via website and social media platforms. A total of 546 suggestions were received from 384 contributors in 43 different countries.

The goals of the long-term concept through 2020 can be reduced to the formula 5 x 400 + 20 = 2020. What this means is that the goal for 2020 is to have generated 5 million more bednights and 400 million euros more in net room revenues in the hospitality sector than the figures for 2013. In addition, by 2020 direct flights to Vienna should be available from 20 more cities. This means that bednights must grow to nearly 18 million, representing an increase of around 40% compared to 2013. Furthermore, net room revenues will have to increase by around 60% and break the one billion euro barrier.

Global. Smart. Premium

Guiding Theme 2020

If these goals are to be achieved, changes must be made in the destination in line with the theme of “Global.Smart.Premium”. Vienna is rapidly strengthening its status as a cosmopolitan metropolis; as the economic hub of Central Europe it can also fill the role of “global player” among cities. It qualifies as a “smart city” thanks to its actively pursued culture of sustainability, with sophisticated urban technologies and intelligent mobility solutions, and also its livability as a “green city” offering both visitors and locals a pleasing and stimulating environment.

The keyword “Premium” indicates a strategy of quality leadership in tourism offerings at all levels of the “customer journey” – from arrival and accommodation, sightseeing, culture and entertainment, to shopping and restaurants. “Premium” stands for high quality regardless of price, although luxury offers are the forefront in this area.


In 2018, some 82% of visitor bednights in Vienna were accounted for by international visitors. As part of the Air Service Development undertaken jointly with Vienna International Airport, by the end of 2018 the Vienna Tourist Board had already acquired 20 of the 20 additional direct connections to Vienna targeted for 2020; by the time of going to press this number had reached 23 (starting in the course of 2019). The third runway at Vienna International Airport must now finally be built. The final version of the environmental impact assessment has been completed, appeals have been overturned, and the necessary authorization granted, as the Administrative Court announced at the beginning of 2019. In step with a record number of passengers in 2018 – 27 million passengers were processed at Vienna Schwechat Airport – the airport continues to invest in modernization work and further improvements to service quality. Furthermore, new offerings address the demand for both premium service and sustainable travel: Since December 9, 2018, Austrian Railways’ Nightjet has been offering a second direct train daily between Berlin and Vienna, and at Easter 2019 a new Eurocity connection between Kraków and Vienna was added. Residents of South Tyrol will in future be able to rely on a direct train connection between Bolzano and Vienna.


In 2018, 221 foreign companies relocated to Vienna – more than ever before, and setting a new record for the eighth consecutive year. At the beginning of 2019, the decision was also made to open a branch of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and expand the presence of the World Bank in Vienna. Starting in September 2019, the Central European University will open a new interim campus in Favoriten; this new business will later be moved to the Otto Wagner district.


With the decision announced in January 2019 to build a new multifunctional mega-arena seating 20,000 in Neu Marx for major events such as concerts, shows, entertainment and sports, the City of Vienna has set a course for the future. The arena is scheduled to open in 2024. Similarly, another major infrastructure project for Vienna as a tourism destination will be realized over the next five years in the form of a new terminal for tour buses at the Ferry Dusika Stadium. Renovation work at the Austria Center Vienna will start in summer 2019; when the project with its danubeSAIL is completed in 2022, it will add 4,200 square meters of space for congresses, corporate meetings and events as well as a new public rendezvous space. With the reopening of the renovated Danube Tower, completion of the HoHo Vienna wooden tower in June 2019, extension plans for the House of the Sea and Wien Museum, the repurposing of areas along the Danube Canal, new construction and renovation of Cobenzl Palace, and the opening of the high-rise in Herrengasse to visitors, a variety of measures to make the city more attractive are being implemented. Vienna's qualification as a city of premium qualities was again confirmed in 2018 by top rankings in many international lists.
Vienna’s Tourism Strategy 2020 and a complete status report for 2018 can be found online at www.tourismusstrategie2020.wien.info.


In the past, tourism organized itself. Today's concept of ‘tourism' is based almost exclusively on the needs of the guests – but the industry is once again facing a paradigm shift in that the wishes of visitors, local residents and the destination as a whole are becoming the main focus of the tourism industry. Tourism is transforming into “Visitor Economy”. The term indicates that visitors are part of the city organism, contributing to the development and enhancement of parts of the city and functioning as a driver for optimized infrastructure, new companies and attractive public spaces, but always in connection with the local population and the goals of the destination.

In fall 2018, the Vienna Tourist Board began its preliminary work on its Strategy 2025, which with the theme of “Visitor Economy” brings together the goals and understanding of tourism marketing and destination management. Under the premise that challenges in city tourism can only be solved with combined efforts, for the first time the Vienna Tourist Board is involving not just tourism stakeholders, but also city districts, trade, the meeting industry, mobility service providers, real estate developers, initiative groups and universities in the strategic planning process. Furthermore, an international advisory board of experts helps ensure that the group looks at the bigger picture.

The aim is also to reconcile conflicting interests and actively shape development of the destination Vienna through 2025. In fall of 2018, preparatory work was started; the website www.strategie2025.wien.info offers a first look at the main thrust and discussion formats for Vienna’s future destination strategy. The strategy will be presented in fall of 2019.

* The strategy group is composed of the leaders of the Vienna Tourist Board and representatives of the Vienna tourism industry, City administration, Chamber of Commerce, transport providers, Vienna Film Commission, and experts from the areas of economic promotion and research. The international expert advisory board for the Tourism Strategy 2020 included the head, Greg Clark, international consultant on urban development, investment and globalisation strategies for the City of London, the OECD and the World Bank (London); Prof. Klaus Heine, expert on luxury marketing with a chair at EMLYON Business School Lyon/Shanghai; Yolanda Perdomo, former director of the affiliate members program of the World Tourism Organization UNWTO (Madrid); and Prof. Karl Wöber, rector of MODUL University in Vienna, an expert in the field of IT & tourism.