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ROUNDUP 4 / Austria’s tourism industry: Lockdown can save the winter season

Friday, 11/19/2021 3:41 PM by

dpa-AFX

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The Austrian flag. pixabay.com

VIENNA (dpa-AFX) – The upcoming lockdown for all of Austria is seen as painful but necessary in the heavily affected tourism industry. The measure hit the division at the start of the ski season “unchecked and in full force,” said industry representative Robert Seeber from the Austrian Chamber of Commerce (WKÖ) on Friday. “But in view of the threat of overloading the health system and saving the winter season, it is unavoidable,” he added.

According to the government, the lockdown will start on Monday and should last for a maximum of 20 days. Among other things, restaurants and most shops will be closed. The government did not immediately announce the rules for the ski resorts. Based on the experience of past lockdowns, it is expected that hotels will only be open to business travel.

According to Finance Minister Gernot Blümel, around 15 percent of Austria’s economic output depends on tourism, with skiing on the slopes and city trips playing a major role in winter. Every second winter sports holiday in Europe is booked in Austria. “So I hope that with the measures that have now been announced, at least part of the season can take place.” Blümel wants to cushion the lockdown with the extension of state compensation for sales losses in the economy amounting to hundreds of millions of euros per month.

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