Austria targets UK travel agents in run up to Euro 2008 – 1 Feb 2007

UK travel agents can expect to be bombarded with promotional information for Austria as the destination gears up to co-host the European Football Championships with Switzerland in 2008.

The state-funded Austrian National Tourist Office has seen its marketing budget boosted by almost £4 million to help the country make the most of its involvement with Europe’s biggest regular sporting event.

“We will take advantage of the excitement generated by the tournament to position Austria as the world’s most charming vacation destination,” said ANTO chief executive Petra Stolba, speaking at the Austrian and Central European Travel Business show in Vienna this week.

As part of a Europe-wide marketing campaign, Stolba said ANTO will be encouraging agents to sign up to one of its professional educational programmes, developed to enhance agents’ knowledge of the destination in the run-up to the tournament.

ANTO estimates football fans visiting Austria during the month-long event will generate an extra €196 million. The tournament kicks off in Basle, Switzerland on June 7 2008 and culminates 30 games later with the final at Austria’s national stadium in Vienna on June 29. In addition, Salzburg, Klagenfurt and Innsbruck in Austria, and Berne, Geneva and Zurich in Switzerland will also host matches.

Qualifying matches for the home nations countries continue until the autumn, with the draw to decide the group games and their location made in Lucerne on December 2.

Talk of the impact of Euro 2008 dominated the news at this week’s ACTB.

Traditionally an Austria-centric show, this year’s event was expanded to incorporate tourist offices and operators from neighbouring countries Hungary, Slovakia, Slovenia and the Czech Republic. The event attracted more than 850 international buyers.

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