Agents on the spot: Vienna
Austrian Airlines, Hotel Rathauspark, Eurotours Incoming and the Vienna Tourist Board joined forces in May to run an educational for five agents to Vienna. Agents visited traditional cellars and wine taverns, took a guided sight-seeing tour by bike and visited the Prater Schonbrunn Zoo - the oldest in Europe. We ask three participants for their impressions before and after the trip.
Before: We don't really get many enquiries about Vienna and it isn't a city that comes immediately to mind for city breaks. People who ask for Austria tended to have images of the country from the Sound of Music in mind and we have sold quite a few lakes and mountain holidays in the Tyrol, but not Vienna. I had not been there myself and didn't really know what to expect. I thought of Strauss and old buildings and had obviously got some impressions of the place from the brochures. I thought it would be a pretty high brow kind of place - and I'm not really very high brow myself - but I was interested to have a look.
After: I was pleasantly surprised. I was very impressed with the look of the city - the architecture and the old world feel of the place. It is quite different from other capital cities because there are hardly any modern buildings which is really unusual these days. It is a very compact place and easy to explore, on foot, by tram or underground, or by bike as we did. It's not a place for discos and wild nightlife but there is a lot to see and do and a very wide range of accommodation. I would certainly recommend it now and would encourage people to try two-centre holidays which combine Vienna with the more popular areas further north
Alan Bassford, Manager, Roy Taber Travel, Shipley, West Yorkshire, Age: 42
Before: I have never sold Vienna and it isn't a place I had ever been to myself. We don't get many enquiries for it although occasionally someone does express an interest in going to the opera there. I wasn't really sure what to expect. I had been to Prague and enjoyed that visit and I imagined Vienna would be quite similar in terms of the history and the interesting old architecture. We sell quite a lot of city breaks in spring and autumn but clients tend to be put off by the cost of Vienna. I was interested to see what you can get for your money in Vienna.
After: The trip was great fun and has made me think of Vienna as a great place for weekend breaks. We took a bike tour which is a really good way to get around the city. Traffic is a little hairy in places but you see so much more because you can stop and go as you please and get quite a different perspective on the place than you do from a coach. There are a lot of museums and palaces to see and some of the hotels are really stunning - very traditional and full of character and style. It is an easy city just to wander in and there are lots of nice little cafes. The food is very international, not just sausages and sauerkraut.
Zoe Carnegie, Travel Consultant, Goodacre and Townsend Travel, London, Age: 24
Before: I had been to Vienna once before but it was in the middle of winter and I hardly went out on the streets because it was so cold. I knew it was a very old city with a lot of interesting original buildings and I knew there were plenty of sights to see. I thought I would have a better opportunity to explore this time as it was a warmer time of year. We do not sell many holidays to Vienna, our clients are interested in short breaks but not generally in Austria. The itinerary included a bike tour and as I had never been on a bike before I knew that was going to be something very different for me.
After: Vienna is a really charming place. There is a lot to look at and the bike tour was a real experience for me. As I had never ridden a bike before I went on a tandem behind another person and I found it really great fun and would love to do it again. In a small group and with a local guide, a bike tour is a good way to explore the city but I'm not sure I could recommend it to my clients because most of them would prefer to be on a coach. I was impressed by the airline and also by the variety of wonderful food in the city. This visit has certainly improved my knowledge of Vienna and I feel a lot more confident talking about it now.
Akiko Yoshikawa, Sales Consultant, Miki Travel, London, Age: 30
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