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Indian tourists head for Vienna

Posted on Dec 20, 02:39PM | IBNS

The number of Indians visiting Vienna has doubled over the last six years with the Austrian capital welcoming nearly 25,000 affluent Indians, said Vienna Tourist Board on Thursday.

The Vienna Tourist Board expects that in 2012 the Indian tourist night stays in local hotels will outgrow the record inflow of over 55,000 room nights in 2011.

Vienna, retaining the spot as the city offering the world's best quality of living for the fourth year in a row, looks at welcoming significantly larger number of Indian tourists in the coming years, according to a visiting Vienna Tourism Board official.

The numero uno rank, based on global HR advisory firm Mercer's Quality of Living index, was earned for the fourth year in a row. The index covering 221 cities, ranked against New York as the base city, makes Vienna an ideal tourist destination.

Europe boasts of having 15 of the world's top 25 cities offering the best quality of living. Vienna retains the highest-ranking for both the region and globally.

"By blending its unique imperial architectural heritage with a distinguished legacy of great artists and musicians like Mozart and Beethoven, Vienna offers one of Europe's most dynamic urban spaces," a Vienna Tourism Board official Verena Hable said during visit to the Indian capital.

"With Vienna emerging as a favoured destination by Indian tourists, we look to welcoming significantly larger inflow of tourists in the coming years," Hable said.

India-born Zubin Mehta has studied and lived in Vienna for many years. Even at his ripe age he conducts the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra occasionally and each of his performances get a long applause, urging Mehta back on stage.

Tourists, especially those from India, like to include his well know maestro's performance to their itinerary, if he is playing during their stay.

Most Indians visitors tend to cover Vienna, Budapest and Prague -all major cities of the former Habsburg Empire - described as the "Golden Triangle", by availing a common Schengen visa.

Pointing to similarities between Indian capital and the Austrian capital, Hable said just like Lutyen's Delhi, Vienna boasts of green spaces that cover over half its area and equally great outdoors.

The countless meadows, trees, parks, gardens, roadside verges, balconies and green rooftops provide a constant, yet ever-changing palette of blossoming flowers, she said.

Vienna, an unusually green capital city with the undulating river Danube, is home to 200 million bees in over 5,300 bee habitations tended by hundreds of urban beekeepers.

There are beehives on the roof of the Vienna State Opera, the Burgtheater and the Secession, the Museum of Natural History, and on the terraces of the Municipal Hospital.

Bees even live on the roof of the InterContinental Hotel. Honey lovers will find countless specialist stores carrying products made from the fruits of bees' labour.

Viennese Cuisine, the only cuisine in the world to be named after a city, draws on influences from various countries. A typical Viennese dining establishment, the down-to-earth, cozy and traditional bistro, makes its mark on a booming restaurant scene.

The vast variety of sweets--both hot and cold -- can be starters or desserts and they tempt the proverbial sweet tooth of Indian tourists. Vienna and wine are inextricably linked as Vienna is the only metropolis in the world to cultivate an appreciable wine-growing industry within its city limits.

Several homely taverns serve fine wine and buffet food. Vineyard tours allow a first-hand experience of vineyards and wine cellars, Hable added.

Vienna can be explored in the comfort of boats that ply in the Danube Canal and Danube River. Aboard these boats the tourists can treat themselves to delicacies of Viennese cuisine.

Vienna is conveniently connected with Delhi with an 8-hour direct flight operated by Austrian Airlines and Air India 5 times a week. Most other international airlines also offer easy connectivity.