Mumbai: With its charming blend of soaring mountains, breath-taking views, fascinating Habsburg history and the vibrant urban vibe, the cosmopolitan city in the Austrian Tirol has earned the moniker ‘Capital of the Alps’. Sitting pretty, Innsbruck Tourism is laying the blueprint to become the best destination in Europe where visitors can combine the experience of the Alps with the comforts of a modern city, with a string of big-ticket events lined up for 2018.
“We registered a 17 per cent increase in Indian tourist arrivals last year and Indian overnights grew by 20 per cent to touch 60,000” – Karin Seiler-Lall, CEO, Innsbruck Tourism
Expressing optimism, Karin Seiler-Lall, CEO, Innsbruck Tourism, said: “Our focus this year is our marquee events – UCI Road World Championships (September 22-30), Crankworx Innsbruck Official Alpine Whip-Off Championships (June 13-17) and IFSC Climbing World Championships (September 6-16).”
Around 4,00,000 spectators are expected in the city and along the race routes this year. A total of 700 journalists from all over the world will report directly from Innsbruck and more than 40 TV stations will broadcast the spectacle to 200 million viewers in 150 countries. The best road cyclists are coming together for a showdown in Innsbruck at the UCI Road World Championships, which will witness 1000 male, female and junior athletes battling it out through eight days of competition in and around the Capital of the Alps. The action at Crankworx Innsbruck is a pro bike race that offers visitors an adrenaline rush. The 2018 Climbing World Championships will also return to Innsbruck for the first time since 1993. Tirol’s capital is primed to host the world’s biggest climbing competition where some 750 athletes from 70 different nations will compete for the coveted trophy at the Innsbruck Climbing Centre at Sillufer and Innsbruck Olympia World. One of the main highlights for visitors attending the event will be the Climbers Paradise Village on the Marktplatz Square in the heart of Innsbruck.
A 20-minute drive is all it takes to travel from the Alps (2000m above sea level) to the city centre. A wide range of leisure activities, cultural places and sports are on offer year round in Innsbruck. “2017 was the best year for Innsbruck Tourism, which grew by four per cent compared to 2016. This winter we expect to grow by six per cent. In 2017, we hosted 3.2 million overnight stays from 1.5 million arrivals. Germany is our biggest source market. Other major markets are the UK, Switzerland and Netherlands. Travellers from China, India, Korea and Latin America prefer our Holiday Villages. India is at number 10. We registered a 17 per cent increase in Indian tourist arrivals last year and Indian overnights grew by 20 per cent to touch 60,000,” Karin said.
Ishvinder Maddh, MD, Robinville Intech and India Representative, Innsbruck Tourism, said: “The average stay of Indians is only 1.19 room nights, which is comparatively low. This is because they travel as a group from Switzerland to Italy (Venice/Florence). They find Innsbruck’s Holiday Villages offering value-for-money accommodation and Indian palette-friendly food, and generally visit Swarovski Crystal Worlds, as it is only a 15-minute drive. We have to convert their visits to longer duration stays by positioning Innsbruck as a standalone destination. This is our strategy for India.”
Bollywood film productions are helping Innsbruck promote itself. A few big Bollywood productions have been completed in the recent past – ‘Ae Dil Hai Mushkil’ and most recently, Salman Khan starrer ‘Tiger Zinda Hai’ – have helped enhance the destination’s awareness among the Indian outbound traveller. Innsbruck is arranging location recce for Bollywood studios. The Tirolian Film Commission offers a generous subsidy. The Austrian Film Commission also extends tax incentives for larger projects. If a film invests upwards of one million Euros in Austria, the producer gets up to 25 per cent subsidy, and the VAT is also reimbursed. This means about 33 per cent of the production cost can be saved.
There are daily flights from New Delhi and Mumbai to Munich from where in less than two hours one can reach Innsbruck by road. One can fly direct via Frankfurt to Innsbruck airport from many Indian cities. One of the biggest attractions getting ready in Innsbruck is 007 Elements, the James Bond cinematic installation, a first-of-its-kind in the world built inside the summit of the Gaislachkogl Mountain in Sölden, which will be opened on July 12.