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Government wants 65,000 tests a week

Federal Chancellor Sebastian Kurz (ÖVP) spoke on Thursday of an "outstanding concept" that should guarantee that guests feel comfortable and safe. "The extensive testing of employees is intended to prevent them from spreading the virus in the event of an infection." You can vacation in Austria more safely than in any other country.

Public authorities will pay for tests

The costs for the tests are borne by the public purse; they are carried out by a private consortium that is currently being formed, according to the President of the Chamber of Commerce, Harald Mahrer (ÖVP). The tests are offered via the tourist regions. "That is certainly one of the best investments for site security," said Mahrer. First, employees who deal directly with the guest, such as waiters and waitresses, are tested. When the capacities are increased, cooks and co. Come to the test.

If an employee tests positive, they are placed in quarantine. The houses are to continue to be operated, said Mahrer, who also announced a “separate prevention package so that there is no infection at all”. The tests are intended to be a unique selling point for Austria. Only in very few other countries will you be able to say on vacation that the employees you deal with are regularly tested, said Kurz. It is worth the effort.

Start in project regions from May 29th

"Feeling good and being safe will be decisive when it comes to Austria being one step ahead when traveling is possible again," said Mahrer. When the accommodation providers are allowed to unlock again on May 29th, the employees will start tests in selected project regions. Which these are remained open for the time being. "With the start of the midsummer season in July, we want to offer the tests nationwide."

40 million euros special budget for Österreich Werbung

“A good summer is waiting for you” is the campaign slogan of Österreich Werbung, which receives a special budget of 40 million euros. "The start will take place in June, especially in Germany," announced Tourism Minister Elisabeth Köstinger (ÖVP). The local tourism experts hope that the numerically strongest group of guests from Germany will be vacationing in Germany this year. Once again, Köstinger appealed to Austrians to spend their vacation at home and also to book it with a local travel agency.

A summer like never before?

Until the first guests come from abroad - the borders with Germany, Switzerland and Liechtenstein will open on June 15 - the accommodation providers will also have the opportunity to practice the new rules, says Köstinger. Kurz said that an agreement on how to proceed will be found with the eastern neighbors next week. In the south - in Italy and Slovenia - it looks a little more difficult. One is “in good talks” with all neighboring countries.

The hotel industry calls for further help

The hotel industry meanwhile called for further support measures. This is “necessary” because the industry has been “hit the longest and hardest” by the crisis, said Susanne Kraus-Winkler, chairwoman of the hotel industry in the Austrian Chamber of Commerce (WKÖ), in a broadcast on Thursday.

In order for the restart to go smoothly, personal responsibility, discipline and common sense of all those involved - the entrepreneurs, employees and guests - are required, said Kraus-Winkler after an online tourism conference with more than 1,000 participants and representatives of the federal government. The hotelier representative welcomed the special budget for Österreich Werbung.

The fact that the public sector bears the costs for the nationwide announced coronavirus tests also results in a “significant advantage in international competition. For us as the Chamber of Commerce, it is essential that this is voluntary and unbureaucratic, ”said Kraus-Winkler.

Concepts for sub-sectors announced

The city hotel industry is particularly frustrated. Kurz also announced its own concept for these and other sub-sectors of the leisure industry that have been badly affected, such as tour operators and bus operators. “It's complex and not easy. There is no blueprint. We are in talks with industry representatives to find solutions. ”The republic wants to make a contribution to ensuring that as many companies as possible survive the difficult phase.