Andrea Hausold - Feb 1, 2021
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In 2020, starting in March, the coronavirus crisis severely affected domestic Austrian tourism. For the entire calendar year, the number of overnight stays fell below the 100 million mark compared to the year before, to the level of the early 1970s.

Lodging establishments in the country recorded a 35.9% drop in overnight stays, from 152.7 million to just 97.9 million, according to preliminary data from Statistics Austria. Compared to the previous year, there was a shortfall of around 55 million overnight stays.

Number of Guests Reduced by Half

The number of tourists staying in hotels, guesthouses and vacation apartments collapsed by 45.8% to 25 million - as a result of lockdowns and international travel warnings, 21.2 million fewer guests were welcomed in comparison to 2019. Good news for Austrian tourism is that commercial and private vacation apartments performed relatively better in 2020 with declines of 22.6% and 23.6%, respectively.

There were more foreign tourists (15.1 million) than domestic tourists (9.94 million). But the number of visitors from abroad dropped by more than half (-52.7%); the number of visitors from Austria dropped by almost one-third (-30.5%).

Business Closures and Travel Restrictions

"Corona-related business closures, international travel restrictions and quarantine regulations are severely affecting Austrian tourism," Statistics Austria chief Tobias Thomas said last week. After peaking at more than 150 million overnight stays in 2019, the number of overnight stays in the coronavirus year 2020 "fell back to the level of the early 1970s," he said.

Vacationers from abroad booked 66.3 million overnight stays - down 41.2% from the previous year. According to the statisticians, the last time overnight stays by foreign guests were below 70 million was in 1970 (63.6 million). Overnight stays by domestic guests fell by over a fifth to 31.63 million (-20%).

Vienna Badly Hit

The significant overall decline was very different in the individual federal states. While provinces that are traditionally dominated by domestic guests, such as Carinthia (down 17.1%), Styria (down 24.5 %) and Burgenland (down 27.2 %), recorded comparatively low losses in overnight stays, the slump in overnight stays in the federal capital Vienna amounted to 74 %.

A positive development compared to the previous year was only observed in Carinthia: Here, overnight stays by domestic guests were up by 5.4%. The provinces with the highest tourism numbers, Tyrol (down 33.4%) and Salzburg (down 32.3%), each registered around one-third fewer overnight stays than in the record year 2019.

In the 2020/21 winter season up to now (November and December 2020), 1.86 million overnight stays were registered, 15.62 million fewer than in the same period of the previous year. The number of guests also fell by 93.6% to 375,800.

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