The United States remains one of the most popular long-haul destinations outside Europe for Austrian travelers, and this trend is expected to continue in 2024. Austria currently ranks 36th worldwide for overall arrivals to the United States in 2022, with a total of 148,129 Austrian arrivals to the U.S. The majority traveled to the U.S. for vacation or to visit friends and relatives with the remainder for business or educational purposes. The overall amount of travel and tourism exports from the U.S. to Austria in 2022 was $559 million.
Due to the pandemic, there was a 90% decrease in travelers to the U.S. since U.S. borders were closed from March 2020 until November 2021. However, a strong upward trend in travelers in 2022 and 2023 can be observed. Compared to 2022, there was a significant increase in U.S. travels from Austria in the first quarter of 2023, as well as in the spring and summer months.
|Jan. – Oct. 2023
|Total Arrivals of Austrian to the U.S.
Source: National Travel and Tourism Office (NTTO)
In 2023, the largest age groups of Austrian travelers to the U.S. were 25–34-year-olds, followed by 45–54-year-olds, spending between 4 and 21 nights in at least one U.S. state. Monthly arrivals of Austrian travelers in 2022 and 2023 were at the highest in June and August, which is consistent with pre-pandemic trends. Between January and August 2023, around 94,000 Austrians traveled to the U.S. on visitor’s visas.
English is widely spoken in Austria and is not generally a barrier for Austrians to travel to the United States. Long-distance travel outside Europe continues to increase in 2023 and many desire to travel abroad again after the pandemic.
Austrian travelers prefer to book their travel at least three months in advance. Most of them choose holiday packages for lower cost, ease of planning, and travel insurance to minimize risks of travel. These packages range from short city trips for shopping and cultural events to comprehensive guided tours and outdoor adventures.
The top tour operators in Austria include TUI Austria, Österreichisches Verkehrsbüro/Ruefa, ÖAMTC Reisen, Springer and Kuoni. The Covid-19 pandemic intensified trends towards online booking, which resulted in a decreasing number of travel agencies. Post-pandemic, many travel agencies and tour operators are now successfully thriving with packaged air travel, hotels, and car rentals at very competitive prices. They are becoming more attractive again to Austrian travelers as they opt for in-person travel assistance with bookings, country travel regulations, entry requirements and cancellations.
Many online booking engines with user-friendly smartphone apps or websites are still widely used for easier price comparison and quicker completion of the booking process. The top online booking platforms for hotels or private accommodation used by Austrians in June 2023 are Booking.com, Airbnb, Trivago, Checkfelix and Hofer Reisen.
The VisitUSA (VUSA) Committee Austria, founded in 1999, is a non-profit Trade Association of destinations, industry partners and individuals, with the goal of promoting travel and tourism to the United States. VUSA is active in the Austria with regular promotional events and seminars nationwide.
United Airlines/Austrian Airlines, part of Star Alliance Group, offers non-stop flights between Vienna and the U.S.: Austrian Airlines flies year-round to Chicago (ORD), New York (EWR), New York City (JFK) and Washington (IAD), as also offers seasonal flights to Los Angeles (LAX). Many additional airlines, such as American Airlines/British Airways, offer flights to the U.S. with transits through neighboring European cities en route to the United States. This year, New York, Newark and Los Angeles have been the top entry ports for Austrian travelers.
In 2022, 54% of Austrian travelers mostly booked their U.S. flights directly with the airlines,29% used internet booking services, the remainder use the corporate travel department or the travel agency offices.
Top U.S. Destinations
The most popular U.S. destinations for Austrian tourists are New York, Florida, California, Nevada, Massachusetts, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Texas, and the national parks located throughout the country. Many leisure travelers visit recreational places such as Disney World, Universal Studios, and Sea World theme parks. Austrians also enjoy city sightseeing, visiting cultural and historical places, and combining tours with outdoor activities such as water sports and golfing. Travel industry representatives see increased interest in adventure travel to Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, and New Mexico. In addition, repeat travelers are becoming more attractive to destinations such as New England, North/South Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia, the Great Lakes, and Hawaii.
- Increasing complex landscape calls for powerful and modern travel technology frameworks.
- Package Tours through agencies and online platforms that include airfare, accommodation and car rental are among the most popular bookings.
- Road trips within the U.S. are also in demand, including motorbike and guided bike tours. Another trend that Austrian travel agencies observe is the demand for glamping, which is a combination of camping and luxury experience.
- Sustainable travel and ecotourism are increasingly attractive, with a focus on conscious and environmental-friendly travel experiences.
- Shopping remains one of the top leisure activities for Austrian travelers in the U.S. The most popular shopping destinations for Austrian travelers are New York City, San Francisco, Washington D.C., Seattle, Chicago, Miami, and Los Angeles.
- According to Statista’s Travel and Tourism in Austria report, Austrian travelers’ top attitudes towards traveling as of June 2023 were: (1) Be in nature, (2) Usage of the smartphone as a guide while on travel, (3) Unique travel experience. According to another survey the main motives for summer holidays are to relax, spend time with the family and to enjoy nature.
U.S. Travel Entry
Austria is part of the Visa Waiver Program. Austrians may therefore be eligible to travel to the U.S. for up to 90 days using the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA). This travel authorization is then valid for two years from the date of authorization or until the passport expires. In case the ESTA is denied, the traveler can apply for a B1/B2 visitor visa. The Consular section recommends applying for ESTA as early as possible so an in-person visa interview can be held in case the applicant may not be eligible for an ESTA.
Visit the website of the U.S. Embassy in Austria for full details on current visa services, expected waiting times and fees: https://at.usembassy.gov/visas/important-visa-information/
Mar. 14– 17, 2024
Ferien-Messe is an annual international event for holidays, travel, and leisure. This trade fair targets the public and offers diverse infotainment with more than 800 exhibitors from over 70 countries. In addition, Ferien-Messe presents popular holiday destinations, best-kept secrets, recommended means of traveling, and an entire range of leisure activities.
- Statistik Austria – Tourism https://statistik.at/web_en/statistics/Economy/tourism/index.html
- National Travel and Tourism Office NTTO https://www.trade.gov/national-travel-and-tourism-office
- Visit USA Committee https://www.visit-usa.at
- Electronic System for Travel Authorization ESTA https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov/esta/
- Austrian Embassy Current Travel Information — Austria
- Travel.State.Gov Austria Travel Advisory (state.gov)
- Austrian Federal Ministry for Agriculture, Forestry, Regions and Water Management (incl. Tourism)
U.S. Commercial Service Austria, Travel & Tourism Specialist, Robee Sallegue, email@example.com