In 2018 the Vienna tourism industry once again exceeded its record-breaking performance of the previous year. With an increase of 6.3% and 16,483,000 bednights, it topped the sixteen-million mark in bednights for the first time. A glance at trends in the net room revenues of accommodation providers is even more exciting. With a 12.8% increase to 893 million euros, revenues have grown at twice the rate of bednights.  This result is a resounding success for Vienna's tourism industry, which provides employment for around 90,000 people and as an industry generates primarily domestic value-added. A very warm thank you to the players in Vienna’s tourism industry whose commitment has made this success possible!

As President of the Vienna Tourist Board, I am especially pleased that we enjoy not only excellent numbers but also a consistently high level of approval from city residents. In 2018 the Vienna Tourist Board conducted a representative survey of local residents to learn about their attitude to tourism. A consistently high level of approval was recorded, with 94% of respondents holding a positive view of tourism in the city. An accolade, but also a charge for the future.

In 2018 we continued our work on the organization of tourism in our city. In addition to a commitment to healthy growth, sustainability of this development was a top priority. Tourism should benefit from Vienna's quality of life, to be sure, but in turn it should also generate a maximum value-added for the city. Our goal is to align the interests and wishes of visitors with those of the city’s businesses and residents in a common perspective. Tourism should be actively harnessed as a stimulus for development of the city as a whole and of individual districts. In light of this, cooperation between tourism stakeholders and the meeting industry, as well as the districts, commerce, transport, initiative groups and many other players in the city who contribute to and play a role in tourism is a key factor in the development of the 2025 strategy.

Only together can we tackle current challenges and create the conditions that will allow Vienna to maintain its top position in competitive city tourism. My congratulations and sincere thanks for all that has been achieved to date!

Peter Hanke
Executive City Councillor of Finance, Business, Digital Innovation and International Affairs
President of the Vienna Tourist Board

© PID/David Bohmann


Vienna’s focus for 2018 on Viennese Modernism was a resounding success. More than 30 exhibitions and numerous special guided tours adopted the theme. The “National Geographic Traveler” in the United States and the British “Sunday Telegraph” made Vienna the “must-see” destination in 2018. Some 500 documented media posts and 28 international awards for the Vienna Tourist Board and its agencies as well as a “Customer of the Year” award from Creative Club Austria round out the recent excellent figures for hotel revenues, arrivals and bednights. A trend that has in some cases also put Vienna in the headlines of international specialist media: In 2018 Vienna not only boasted the highest occupancy rates of all Austrian provinces, but in December we even topped in the European charts for occupancy.

Some 82% of bednights in 2018 were accounted for by international guests. Recently the strongest growth has been from remote markets from which the only way to get to Vienna is by air. In the past 10 years, growth from European markets was 58%, while growth from distant and overseas markets was almost twice that: 99%. The “Air Service Development” undertaken jointly with Vienna International Airport was accordingly a key component in our marketing activities and gave rise to another milestone announced in 2018: With 20 new direct connections from countries with relevant incoming potential, we have already achieved one the goals of our Tourism Strategy 2020. Shortly before the copy deadline, the Vienna Tourist Board was honored with the ‘Routes Europe Marketing Award’ for this strategy.

In light of these encouraging growth figures and the current discussion of what tourism should accomplish for the destination, its residents and business operators, a paradigm shift is becoming apparent, not only in Vienna, but around the world. While in the past tourism effectively organized itself, today by contrast the term “tourism“ is almost exclusively oriented toward the needs of guests. We are now once again facing a change in perspective in that the wishes of guests, residents and the destination as a whole are all in equal measure becoming the focus of our work. Tourism is turning into a “visitor economy” and sees visitors as part of the city organism. The top priority is no longer just what the destination can do for its visitors, but also what visitors can do for their destination, for example by contributing to the development and improvement of city districts or as a driver of optimized infrastructure, new companies, and also attractive public spaces. The tourism industry – from now on “visitor economy“ – must now more than ever before be seen in connection with the local population and the objectives of the destination. In fall 2018, the Vienna Tourist Board began its preliminary work on the Strategy 2025, which with the main theme of visitor economy goals and understanding tourism marketing combines destination management and a value-added mindset. The strategy will be presented in fall of 2019; this annual report provides some initial insights into the steps that have already been taken.

The Vienna Tourist Board is the only organization of the City of Vienna permanently active in 19 markets around the world, in many cases working jointly with Viennese partners and institutions. Each year, the Vienna Tourist Board is represented approximately every other day with a B2B event somewhere in the world. In the B2C sector, with Vienna's promise of quality we are addressing premium target groups even more purposefully, with a view to increasing the tourist value-added in Vienna and promoting sustainable development of this sector.

I would like to take this opportunity to express my heartfelt thanks for the excellent cooperation with all our stakeholders and partners! You can read about our accomplishments in 2018 in this annual report. For the first time in digital format only: therefore up-to-date, environmentally friendly, and with interactive value-added. I wish you exciting reading!

Norbert Kettner
Director, Vienna Tourist Board

© WienTourismus/ Peter Rigaud

© WienTourismus/Peter Rigaud