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Vienna tourism plunges due to global economic downturn

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Vienna – Overnight stays in the Austrian capital Vienna plunged 9.5 per cent in the first quarter of 2009, official data showed Friday.

Vienna – Overnight stays in the Austrian capital Vienna plunged 9.5 per cent in the first quarter of 2009, official data showed Friday.

The tourism industry plays a vital part in the Austrian economy, but has been severely hit by the global economic downturn.

In March, numbers fell by 15.1 per cent year-on-year, with 37 per cent less tourist stays from Italy and 28 per cent less from the United States, according to the latest figures from the Vienna Tourism Board.

Japanese travellers are also increasingly staying away from one of their most favourite tourism destinations in Europe. Numbers dropped by 5 per cent in the first quarter and 11 per cent in March.

However, more guests from Central and Eastern Europe, as well as Arabian tourists came to Vienna in March, with 14 per cent more stays from the Czech Republic and 31 per cent more from Arab countries.

The tourism industry accounts for over 16 per cent of Austria’s gross domestic product, according to a 2008 study by IFT, an industry research institute in Vienna.