After the Chancellor’s rogue, an overthrow of the government is off the table for the time being, but in some industries, such as tourism, there is great unrest as to how things should go on now – in the middle of the pandemic. Many decisions, such as a new Covid regulation, are in the air. “It has the highest priority that we get the winter locked up,” said the President of the Austrian Hotel Association (ÖHV), Michaela Reitterer, in an interview with the APA.
According to the industry spokeswoman, tourism companies now urgently need the new legal requirements for their Conona management. The winter season starts in a good two weeks, on November 1st. The first ski resorts that are already open are initially adhering to the old Corona regulations, although the new ones were publicly announced and presented by the government three weeks ago. The relevant ordinance from the Ministry of Health is not yet available.
“In and of itself, a whole branch of rifle is at hand – everyone has a crucial season ahead of them,” emphasized Reitterer. The past winter season 2020/21 was completely canceled for almost all of the months due to the lockdown. “That is our great need; that we are seeing that the priority is now shifting away,” said the ÖHV boss with a view to the political reorganization and the still missing legal requirements for the accommodation, catering and cable car companies.
No regulation yet
“I’m so worried that this will go under – it should be ready on October 15th,” said the hotelier. “We don’t have a regulation yet, we just have a draft.” For example, there are no specifications as to where “3G” (vaccinated, recovered or tested) and where “2G” (vaccinated or recovered) applies, what happens to the Christmas markets, how long tests can be carried out for free, i.e. at taxpayer costs. “Will it be approved that testing will continue until the end of March,” asks the tourism expert. In the holiday regions, there is nowhere near the same test infrastructure density as in Vienna. It is even more uncomfortable for holidaymakers there than in the federal capital.
The budget of the national tourism marketing organization Österreich Werbung (ÖW) and the new funding guidelines for the Austrian Hotel and Tourism Bank (ÖHT) have not yet been fixed, Reitterer added.
“The unpredictability and uncertainty of the previous year were already bad enough for the employees, guests and employers. Everyone wants this winter season to take place and we need the rules for it,” affirmed the ÖHV President. “It is so important that something continues,” she appealed to the responsible authorities.
It is also about a comparison of the entry and the opening regulation. “People who have been vaccinated with the Sinovac vaccine are currently allowed to enter the country, but not – without a corona test – stay overnight in a hotel,” says the industry spokeswoman. “They all live at Airbnb,” she commented critically. People vaccinated with Sputnik would have to go for tests every other day. And in Vienna, different rules apply than in the other federal states, for example regarding the duration of the test validity.
The jumble of regulations is also a hindrance when looking for personnel. “We have an international competition for employees and many people think that before I do that to myself in Austria, I will go somewhere else where I am considered vaccinated with Sputnik,” explained Reitterer.
The ÖHV boss is now hoping for a courageous pandemic management by the government. “If the number of infections gallops away from us now, we have a problem – in the USA there has been a recommendation since last week not to travel to Austria.” A travel warning for Austria from Germany is particularly feared in the industry, because this is where by far the greatest number of foreign holidaymakers come.
In the neighboring country, the number of new corona infections has been much lower for weeks than in this country. In Austria, the 7-day incidence, i.e. the number of new infections with the coronavirus in the past seven days per 100,000 inhabitants, reached 145.8 at the weekend. Germany, on the other hand, started the week with a value of 66.5, which is massively lower. German skiers could feel safer in Bavaria than in Tyrol or Salzburg, so the concern of local tourism professionals.
“That would be the very worst – if we were all open and nobody comes,” said the industry representative. “That would be even worse than the lockdown.” Not least because of the economic aid, which then definitely fell away. There was only a sales replacement last winter because of the official ban on hotels and guesthouses for vacationers. “We have 18 months of Corona management behind us and we have done really well – if that slips away from us now, it will be dark.”