Austria keen to welcome GCC travellers

14 June 2021
Austria is gearing up to welcome tourists from the Gulf region in the coming weeks

The Austrian National Tourist Office (ANTO) is keen to see the resumption of tourism between Austria and the GCC once rules are revised from mid-June onwards.

Speaking at a press conference for the Austrian pavilion at Expo 2020, Robert Groeblacher, director Middle East & South East Asia, ANTO, said Austria will adopt the Robert Koch Institute's (RKI) system of classifying regions based on the incidence of Covid-19.

RKI currently classifies the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Oman in its 'risk' category, which means vaccinated or recovered travellers and those carrying a negative test will not need to quarantine after arrival in Austria.

GCC tourists form a significant portion of visitors to Austria and are classified as 'high-spending visitors'.

Austria is also keen to continue its strong trade relations with the UAE, buoyed by its presence at Expo 2020. 

The UAE-Austria trade balance in 2020 amounted to nearly €540m ($653m), with Austrian direct investments in the UAE amounting to €7.5bn by 2020, making it the seventh-largest foreign direct investment destination globally for Austria.

By 2020, the UAE had an accumulated €4.49bn of investments in Austria.

Richard Bandera, Austrian trade commissioner to the UAE, told the press conference they were seeing an "increased amount of interest" from Austrian companies wanting to invest in the UAE, especially in recent months. 

Tourism and trade will be a key focus for Austria at its participation during Expo 2020 Dubai, alongside themes such as food security, regional products, smart technologies and sustainability. 

Under the theme 'Austria Makes Sense', the nation will position itself as a "global innovation leader through digitalisation, digital transformation and digital innovation", said Austrian commissioner general Beatrix Karl.

"We see our pavilion as a place where innovative and creative minds come together, where there will be opportunities for people to connect through a wide variety of events," she added.

During the six-month Expo period, the Austrian pavilion will host a variety of business programmes to connect Austrian and Gulf businesses, with the aim of developing new trade and economic ties for mutual benefit.

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