Austria dismantles global C&I set-up

Tourist office to take over from event-specific body

Austria: C&I-specific network dismantled
Austria: C&I-specific network dismantled

The Austrian Tourist Office (ATO) is to drastically reduce its international C&I presence by the end of this year as it dismantles its Austrian Business and Convention Network (ABCN) set-up.

The dedicated events industry team will be cut from 12 to four from January 2009 and the move will see the end of C&I-specific representation in London, Paris and the US.

The eight staff have been offered other positions within ATO, but ABCN's UK and Ireland marketing manager Iris Einoeder has decided to leave her position at the end of August. She was offered another position at ATO's London office, but has decided to look at "other creative opportunities" to pursue.

The reasoning behind the changes was led by the development of the local CVB presence in Austria. With more offices in place, it was seen as more productive for the regional CVBs to work directly with ATO's Vienna head office on future marketing plans, Einoeder said.

ABCN was set up to drive international C&I business in 2003. Of Austria's nine provinces, only Vienna had its own convention bureau at that time. That number has since grown to eight and Einoeder explained that as these have become more firmly established, it had become increasingly difficult to create marketing solutions that suited all parties. "Many of the convention bureaus are now very confident marketing themselves and unfortunately it is difficult to find common ground," she said.

"The Austrian Tourist Office will continue to perform key assignments in marketing to the meetings and conference industry, while optimising results for the Austrian meetings and conference industry in cooperation with its partners," added Austrian Tourist Office chief executive Petra Stolba.

Einoeder explained that all current commitments will be honoured and that Carola Schoch, based at ATO's Vienna head office, will be first point of contact for UK event planners between September and January.

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