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Whether it’s summer or wintertime: Austria has a diverse range of sports and leisure: skiing, hiking, nature, museums, customs and traditions, architecture, urban tourism, health tourism, cultural events, high-level catering, cuisine, wines, top-class hotels. And all individually and in person, given that 80% of tourism operations in Austria are family businesses.

The 90,000 establishments of the tourism and leisure industry belong to the sectors food service, hotels, leisure and sport, travel agencies, cinemas, cultural and amusement facilities as well as health enterprises. The direct and indirect value added is around EUR 56.5 billion per year, i.e. more than 16% of gross domestic product (GDP). Tourism and the leisure industry safeguard around 715,000 jobs in Austria directly or indirectly.

More than 30 vocational groups are represented in the Federation of Leisure and Sports Companies of the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber (WKÖ). These include, among others, tourist guides, fitness establishments, riding stables, boat rental centres, operators of camping sites, dance schools or casino and slot machine operators.

Expertise about country and people

The travel agency industry in Austria is characterised by very many small companies; enterprises with one to nine employees dominate. Currently, around 730 travel agencies are active as tour operators.

The tourist guides make a fundamental contribution to the positive image of Austria. They inform guests about art and culture as well as about nature and the way of life in Austria. They are experts in history and also have their finger on the pulse. With the aid of a platform, guests can select a tourist guide who speaks their language and compile their very own individual programme.

Superbly organised at all levels

The event industry makes Austria particularly stand out in international competition as a tourism location. Major events such as the Opera Ball or ski races are its speciality and are well-known in many countries. Trends are being set in this sector, for instance, in the area of digitalisation, in sustainable tourism and in health tourism.

A particular focus is placed especially at major events on safety because it is also an important argument for selecting Austria as a travel destination. An excellent hotel infrastructure and superb international transport links round off the services offered.

Taking responsibility

Austrian companies are exemplary when it comes to waste separation and waste avoidance, energy-saving forms of construction, the use of alternative forms of energy, and e-mobility.

Great importance is also attached to the handling of food and in the sustainable use of nature for tourist purposes and extensive accessibility. The strict Austrian compliance regulations have a particular impact on high-end gastronomy.

Professional support on the ski slopes

The training offered by Austrian ski instructors is one of the internationally successful services of the industry and is exported to various countries around the world. In order to meet the changes and developments in the ski industry, the Austrian Ski School Federation (ÖSSV) has developed ski instruction further in collaboration with the provincial ski instructor associations.

A special service: Learning to ski in three days. This campaign offers beginners, families or people who wish to take up skiing again the possibility of learning to ski (again) on the slopes in a very short time at one of the many professional ski schools in Austria.


Training is very important for the sport and leisure sector in Austria and is internationally recognised. Apprenticeships and certifications are offered in order to guarantee the good qualification of the employees. In tourism alone, there are ten apprenticeship professions, of which each has a specific job description and requirements profile.

An in-depth training of employees is very important for a quality tourism country like Austria and is offered at 28 tourism schools or in the form of a degree course in tourism. This also results in numerous renowned award-winning chefs and leading hotel, event and health managers from Austria not only working at national level but also frequently at international level.

Events Go green

Many event organisers in Austria want sustainable events. A platform brings them together with companies offering sustainable services for the event industry.

Whether it concerns the right location, an environmentally friendly hotel or an organic caterer, in Austria, sustainable events can be planned from the outset, from returnable beakers to event technology and equipment.

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