Facts and figures on tourism in Tirol
Last updated on 21.07.2021
Tourism in Tirol has a long history. Until the late 19th century most visitors were traders and travellers on the important north-south and east-west transit routes passing through the region. From the early 20th century, Tirol became more and more popular as a holiday destination in its own right.
Tyrol as a holiday destination
Tourism is an essential part of Tirol’s economy. Almost 25,000 local businesses rely on tourism. With 56,000 employees, the tourism sector is not only important as a creator of jobs but also drives other fields such as crafts and trade. One in three euros generated in Tirol comes from tourism and leisure, with a quarter of the region’s jobs in the tourism and leisure industries.*
Upswing in tourism
The earliest visitors to Tirol, who arrived more than 200 years ago, were members of the ruling elite embarking on elaborate journeys to educate themselves and broaden their horizons. From the middle of the 19th century, more and more people found themselves drawn to the mountains during the hot months of the year to cool off. Alongside summer tourism, mountaineering soon became the second mainstay of tourism in the region. It was not until the early 20th century that winter tourism began to develop.
Tourism in Tirol took off in earnest after the Second World War. This enabled even peripheral regions such as the valleys to enjoy economic development and prosperity. Until the mid-1990s, summer was the more important of the seasons – and in 1991 it brought Tirol its best result to date with just over 23 million overnight stays. The increasingly strong winter season peaked in 2016/17 with 26.8 million overnight stays.
In 2018/19, the last full tourism year before the Coronavirus pandemic, 27.5 million overnight stays were recorded in winter compared with 22.2 million overnight stays in summer, a ratio of 55:45.
Tourism year 2019/20
The tourism year 2019/20 got off to a promising start. However, the Coronavirus pandemic brought the world to a standstill and hit the tourism sector particularly hard – including in Tirol. 38.5 million overnight stays and 8.8 million guest arrivals in the tourism year 2019/20, which covers the period from 1 November 2019 to 31 October 2020, meant significant declines of 22.4% in overnight stays and 29.3% in arrivals.
In the first four months of the 2019/20 winter season, from November to February, both arrivals and overnight stays were still up on the previous year. However, the winter season came to a premature end in mid-March due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Thus, with 22.9 million overnight stays (-16.6%) and almost 5 million arrivals (-19.9%), it recorded significant declines compared to the previous year.
The summer of 2020 was also shaped by the pandemic. A slow start due to the lockdown and border closures was followed by several months which were better than expected. As early as September, however, the number of infections rose again, leading to further travel warnings. This ultimately meant that the tourism industry once again experienced significant declines compared with the previous year: 15.6 million overnight stays (-29.7% versus the previous year) and just under 3.8 million arrivals (-38.8%) were the final figures for the summer of 2020.
- Due to the Coronavirus-related declines in the tourism year 2019/20 (1 November 2019 to 31 October 2020), overnight stays in Tirol also fell in a long-term comparison: 38.5 million overnight stays meant a drop of 10.5% compared with 10 years earlier.
- Due to the outbreak of the Coronavirus pandemic, guest arrivals (8.8 million in the tourism year 2019/20) also declined by 5.8% compared with 10 years earlier.
- The average length of stay of guests in Tirol increased to 4.4 days in the tourism year 2019/20 (up from 4 days the year before) due to changes in travel behaviour caused by the pandemic.
- Guests visiting Tirol in winter stay longer than those visiting the region in summer. The average length of stay in the winter season 2019/20 was 4.6 days compared with 4.1 days on average in the summer season 2020.
- The hotel industry accounted for almost 60% of overnight stays in the tourism year 2019/20. Holiday apartments became more popular during the Coronavirus pandemic (32% share).
- Tirol’s accommodation providers have 339,000 beds in winter and 329,000 in summer. One in two of these beds are in hotels, a third are in in holiday apartments and 7% are in private accommodation.
- In the tourism year 2019/20, tourism generated a total turnover of 7.8 billion euros.
- The gross value added of Tirol’s tourism industry amounted to around 3.9 billion euros in 2019/20. This means declines of 15% in winter and 29% in summer due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
- Tirol’s tourism industry employs around 56,000 people, 57% of whom work in accommodation and catering establishments.*
- The share of tourism in Tirol’s GDP is approx. 17.5%, with this figure significantly higher in the major tourism centres. For comparison, tourism contributes 5.6% to Austria’s overall GDP.*
*These figures refer to the time before the outbreak of the Coronavirus pandemic.
Sources: T-Mona summer 2020 and winter 2019/20, Tirolean Chamber of Commerce, provincial statistics, MCI Tourism
The role of Tirol Werbung in the region’s tourism industry
Tirol Werbung is Tirol’s regional tourism board. Its manages and strengthens the Tirol brand, controls tourism marketing, carries out basic work such as market and trend research, and acts as a service and information centre for guests and industry partners.
A subsidiary of Lebensraum Tirol Holding
Since 1 January 2019, Tirol Werbung has been part of Lebensraum Tirol Holding, which also includes Standortagentur Tirol and Agrarmarketing Tirol. These three subsidiaries are 100% owned by Lebensraum Tirol Holding. Strategic control of the Tirol brand is also carried out by Lebensraum Tirol Holding.
Tirol’s tourism strategy
Tirol’s tourism strategy is set out in the “Tirolean Way 2021”. This strategy paper is based on three core drivers from which fields of action and measures are derived:
- Tirol is a place where people both live and spend their holidays
- Tirol’s tourism industry is family-based and cross-generational
- Tirol is a recognised for its leadership expertise in alpine tourism
Tirol Tourism Research
Tirol Tourism Research (TTR) – the central knowledge hub for tourism in Tirol – offers up-to-date and detailed statistics. With this online platform, Tirol Werbung and MCI Tourism offer direct access to a wealth of information and data.