The Austrian National Tourist Office (ANTO) will mark the end of an era later this year, with the departure of longstanding Director of its Australian office, Astrid Gruchmann-Licht. Licht has been a pioneer of destination marketing in the local sector, and when Travel Daily broke the story of her departure earlier this week the move prompted an outpouring of tributes.
Gruchmann-Licht is actually currently in Europe, just wrapping up her final major project for ANTO – a new video-focused resource to help Australian travel advisors sell Austria to their clients. “It’s a new – and more sustainable – way to communicate with the trade,” she told travelBulletin. “I wanted to do something of value before I leave my role, which I have been proud to occupy for almost 33 years – probably making me the longest-serving NTO Director in Australia,” she added.
Departing ANTO for personal reasons, Gruchmann-Licht is leaving the organisation in the capable hands of Kathrina Denk, who in a global restructure will be promoted to the role of Market Representative for Austria. She will share offices with the Austrian Trade Commission and the Austrian Consulate-General in the Sydney CBD from January 2023, with further details to be shared with the industry next month.
The new Austria Resource Hub is “a place to learn, be inspired and find the necessary tools to design an unforgettable itinerary to Austria,” with four destinations featured so far: Salzburg, Innsbruck, the Wolfgangsee region, and the Arlberg Region. Gruchmann-Licht paid a visit to each destination to get the latest product updates from experts on the ground – and then ventured out to experience it all first hand. The program features a backpack-picnic at 2,200m of elevation on Innsbruck’s mighty Nordkette mountain, riding Austria’s steepest cog railway up the Schafberg on St Wolfgang, multi-day hiking the Arlberg trail from Lech to St Anton, and discovering the trick fountains in the “pleasure palace” of Hellbrunn in Salzburg.
“We are excited to launch a ‘one-stop shop’ for creating a unique trip to Austria. Inside the hub, agents can not only find the highlights for destinations Aussies love to visit, but the videos will really give them a better understanding of what is waiting for their clients – and themselves – in the cities and regions.” Gruchmann-Licht said.
The launch is being celebrated with a competition in which Aussie travel agents can win one of six spots in a “Pre-Christmas in Austria” famil from 22-30 November this year, including Emirates flights. To go in the draw participating advisors have to watch the short videos of the four feature destinations, and then answer a series of questions correctly before 17 October. The full hub is online at https://to.austria.info/austria-resource-hub, with an introductory video at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3_70RVmQ7Ow&t=3s.
Upon hearing of Gruchmann-Licht’s departure, tributes included commentary from University of Technology Sydney Adjunct Fellow of Tourism, David Beirman, who added his praise to the “many who were impressed with Astrid’s extraordinary work in promoting Austria”.
“She has really stamped her personality and commitment to the promotion of destination Austria and Austrian tourism was very well served by her professionalism. She is an inspiration to those who market and promote international destinations in Australia,” Beirman added.