Skip to main content

Numerous decision-makers attended the presentation of the “Initiative Future Tourism” at Schönbrunn Palace. The aim: to further develop the industry and increase added value.

“Important decisions will be made in Austria and Europe in 2024. Now is the right time to contribute our expertise and experience so that they are set correctly! It’s about the future of tourism,” emphasize Michaela Reitterer and Paul Blaguss, the spokespersons of the newly founded “Initiative Future Tourism”. Reitterer, winner of the Golden Medal of Honor of the Republic for services to Austrian tourism and hostess at the Boutiquehotel Stadthalle in Vienna, led the hotel industry through Corona as ÖHV President. Blaguss is managing partner of the expanding group of companies of the same name with 2,000 employees and is involved in the presidium of Austrian Leading Sights.

Credibility for politics and business through party-political independence
The two particularly emphasize the independence of the initiative from political parties: “We are only close to our members, we only care about tourism!”, Reitterer and Blaguss state.

An initiative for tourism as a whole
The initiative was launched by Austrian Leading Sights, the Association of Austrian Tourism Managers, Casinos Austria, Vienna Airport, the Austrian Hoteliers Association, the Austrian Travel Association, Urlaub am Bauernhof and VERKEHRSBUERO. “This shows the breadth and at the same time close integration of the industry,” says Blaguss. As an interface between guests and the economy, each member offers opportunities for the location and regional value creation: “It is high time to fully exploit this potential,” says Reitterer.

Initiative contributes commitment, experience and expertise
Together, the members represent Austria’s tourism industry in all its diversity, from small businesses to large companies, from travel planning to arrival and departure to perfect enjoyment at the vacation destination. The speakers see the fact that the initiative is so broadly based as “an absolute stroke of luck for the industry and for politics: we are suppliers of know-how on a broad basis!” The combination of practical relevance and solution orientation, know-how and the will to shape the future is a guarantee of success.

WIFO-Burton: Good starting point and a lot to do
In a concise analysis, Anna Burton, tourism researcher at the Austrian Institute of Economic Research (WIFO), emphasized the great importance of tourism as a growth driver for the Austrian economy, its close connection with numerous other sectors and the return to pre-pandemic levels. At the same time, she pointed out the need to increase economic as well as ecological and social sustainability in the sector and to drive digitalization and innovation: “Of course, this is most promising if it is done in close coordination between science, business and politics,” said Burton.

Tourism and transformation: surfing on megatrends instead of being thrown off
The companies of Reitterer and Blaguss demonstrate the immense dynamism in the sector: apart from the core business, they no longer have much to do with the companies in which the two took over responsibility in 2001 and 2002 respectively: “The demands of guests and passengers and our teams on our companies, IT, acquisition, financing, payments: Nothing is the same, everything is new: that’s tourism. And we have to keep up with this pace, as a company and as a location.”

Setting the pace instead of just keeping it
The members of the initiative demonstrate day after day that they can keep up this fast pace. “Now is the time for the next step: now is the time to pick up the pace, to set the pace,” says Blaguss. “We have set out to help shape the transformation in tourism, to analyze the framework conditions and adapt them to fit the new era. Our companies should surf on the megatrends, not be thrown off,” he says, describing the idea behind the initiative: “Developing the industry in a trialogue with politics and science.”

Need concrete tourism targets for 2040!
Because there is a lot of catching up to do: In terms of landings, arrivals and guest numbers, the pre-crisis level has already largely been reached, but Austria has still not reached the 2019 figures for a key economic indicator – price-adjusted revenue: “Austria is missing out on opportunities. We can do better!” And with specific targets and measures. “Whether it’s climate protection or the research quota: where benchmarks are set, there is movement! And because these are long-term processes, we need to start developing programs for future-proof tourism now! We have to decide today where we want to be in 2040.” Together with politicians and scientists, the two want to define concrete goals for areas as diverse as employee requirements, CO2 emissions and tourism acceptance, tourism research and digitalization, as well as perennial issues such as reducing bureaucracy. Starting with the next legislative period, programs are to be developed, funded and implemented!”


All information on the initiators and objectives of the Future Tourism Initiative can be found at, the presentation of Anna Burton download here, © WIFO/Burton and the photos from the presentation evening here; © IZT/Zupanc.



Austrian Leading Sights promotes and represents first-class tourist attractions and connects 49 outstanding sights and tourist highlights in Austria. The association promotes cross-border and internal networking of the leading sights and is actively committed to strengthening the industry, promoting sustainable tourism practices and positioning Austria as an attractive travel destination.
President: Klaus Panholzer
General Secretary: Patrick Quatember


The Association of Austrian Tourism Managers represents the official network of Austria’s tourism regions with more than 200 members. Its goal is the sustainable and innovative promotion of the tourism landscape. Regional tourism units are strengthened through the exchange of knowledge and experience, and supra-regional cooperation is promoted.
President: Mathias Schattleitner
General Secretary: Mag. (FH) Christian Schirlbauer


Casinos Austria AG has been a strong partner to numerous tourism regions for more than 50 years. As a leading company in the Austrian economy, Casinos Austria has an impact far beyond its own sphere of activity. Over many years, the twelve casinos have established themselves as strong partners to their respective regions with a high degree of regional added value and, with their entertainment offerings, bring added value to the region that goes far beyond their own sales performance.


Vienna Airport is Austria’s gateway to the world for around 30 million passengers a year, one of the most important hubs between Western and Eastern Europe as well as for the federal states and ensures good connections to the regions. The largest domestic airport is one of the most reliable and punctual in Europe and has been CO2-neutral since 2023. It is much more than just a transport hub: over 250 companies are represented at the airport site and more than 23,000 people are employed here.
Managing Director: Mag. Julian Jäger


The Austrian Hotel Association is a voluntary and independent organization representing the interests of more than 1,700 top hotels in Austria, thus creating a framework in which successful business is possible.
President: Walter Veit
General Secretary: Dr. Markus Gratzer


The Austrian Travel Association is the independent and neutral representation of the interests of major Austrian travel agencies and tour operators as well as companies from all areas of tourism. As a platform for the exchange of ideas and the development of future-oriented industry solutions, the independent association maintains contacts with politicians and makes the public aware of the importance of the travel industry as an economic factor.
President: Mag. Eva Buzzi
General Secretary: Dr. Walter Säckl


In the Austrian Holidays on the farm Association, 2,300 quality-certified vacation farms with a total of 27,000 guest beds work together voluntarily in marketing and representing their interests. Farm vacations are seen as an attractive, very typical form of vacation and are regarded throughout Europe as a model for successful cooperation in rural tourism – so that small(est) farms can continue to assert themselves in the dynamic competition.
Chairman: Johann Hörtnagl
Managing Director: Mag. Hans Embacher


VERKEHRSBUERO is Austria’s leading tourism company with 21 hotels in Austria and Slovenia with the brands Austria Trend Hotels, BASSENA, Palais Events, Camping and the hotels managed under the Radisson franchise brands. VERKEHRSBUERO Travel focuses on leisure travel and serves customers throughout Austria in 72 Ruefa travel agencies. Eurotours International has a leading position as a full-range provider in multi-channel distribution and is also the largest provider of direct sales tours.
Chairman of the Management Board: Martin Winkler

Inquiries & contact:

Martin Stanits
+43 664 5160831