Tourism is an important part of Austria's services sector. In
1991 foreign tourists accounted for earnings of S192.4 billion,
almost offsetting the negative trade balance and deficits in
services or other accounts. Tourism is a principal industry and
source of foreign exchange. In fact, Austria's per capita tourist
revenue is the highest in the world. Foreign overnight stays in
Austria have risen consistently since World War II, from 50
million in 1950, to 59 million in 1970, and to 95 million in
1990. With 20 million visitors in 1990, Austria was fifth in the
world in tourist revenues, surpassed only by the United States,
France, Italy, and Spain. Most tourists come from European
countries. Almost two-thirds come from Germany, followed by the
Netherlands (10 percent) and Britain (5 percent).
Austria's largest tourist attraction has long been the Alps--
for skiing in the winter and for hiking and camping in the
summer. For this reason, the mountainous provinces of Tirol,
Carinthia, and Vorarlberg produce the greatest tourist revenues.
Salzburg is an important tourist attraction in the summer. Vienna
remains a tourist center all year but does not generate as much
tourist revenue as the mountain areas.
Austria has 20,000 hotels and pensions, as well as an
additional 50,000 private rooms available to house tourists. In
addition, there are thousands of simpler accommodations, such as
youth hostels, mountain huts, and campsites.
Austria has also made significant progress in becoming an
international conference center. The so-called United Nations
City, located outside Vienna, contains the headquarters of a
number of major United Nations (UN) organizations. Vienna also
has an international conference center. Taking advantage of
Austria's neutral status, Vienna has hosted numerous East-West
negotiations and is the permanent seat not only of such longestablished organizations as the International Atomic Energy
Agency but also of the newer Conference on Security and
Cooperation in Europe. The opening of Eastern Europe is likely to
make Vienna an even more important center for East-West travel.
Data as of December 1993