Sunday,  September 22, 2019  5:13 pm

Vienna Tourist Board & ACV promote new direct flights from YYZ & YUL

Vienna Tourist Board & ACV promote new direct flights from YYZ & YUL
Armando Mendonca, president of AMPM (left) and Nino Montagnese, managing director at Air Canada Vacations, on location at the Four Seasons Hotel in Toronto yesterday.
Michael Pihach

Michael Pihach is an award-winning journalist with a keen interest in digital storytelling. In addition to PAX, Michael has also written for CBC Life, Ryerson University Magazine, IN Magazine, and Michael joins PAX after years of working at popular Canadian television shows, such as Steven and Chris, The Goods and The Marilyn Denis Show.

“It’s a real living city,” said Nino Montagnese, managing director at Air Canada Vacations (ACV), speaking about the time he visited Vienna. “From the culture to the museums to the markets, there’s so much to see and do. And of course, there’s the apple strudel.”

Vienna took centre stage yesterday morning (Dec. 4) at dbar restaurant in Toronto’s Four Seasons Hotel as ACV and a representative on behalf of the Vienna Tourist Board hosted a breakfast seminar that highlighted the latest news and promotions coming out of Austria’s historical capital.

“Vienna is a great destination for the leisure market, the MICE market and the corporate market,” said Armando Mendonca, president of AMPM, which represents the Vienna Tourist Board in Canada. 

The informative event, which drew nearly 50 media, tour operator and airline representatives, was what Mendonca called “an inaugural event for more events” dedicated to promoting Vienna in Canada.

Vienna has 200 castles and palaces and more than 100 museums, says Armando Mendonca, who represents the Vienna Tourist Board in Canada. Photo: WienTourismus Peter Rigaud

Castles, palaces and grand monuments

Vienna is located on the Danube River in the eastern part of Austria near the borders of Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary. It’s city centre is famous for Baroque castles and gardens, palaces, sprawling parks, museums and grand monuments.

Some of Vienna’s most notable residents have included Mozart, Beethoven and Sigmund Freud, all of whom continue to bear an influence on the city today.   

“It’s a clean city,” Montagnese told PAX, noting that Vienna was also where he spent his honeymoon.

According to figures released by the Vienna Tourist Board, tourism in Vienna is growing: over the past four years, its total number of overnight stays has increased by one third.

Through direct links with its hotel partners, Air Canada Vacations offers close to 400 hotel options in Austria and Vienna, Montagnese said, in addition to coach tours through companies such as Trafalgar and Insight Vacations.

Flying direct from Toronto & Montreal

Air Canada, notably, will be launching year-round services between Toronto and Vienna starting April 29, 2019. The daily flights will operate with Air Canada's flagship aircraft, the Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner, which features signature class, premium economy and economy cabins.

“It’s a brand new state of the art aircraft,” Montagnese told PAX, explaining how the flights depart at approximately 6:30 p.m. at night and arrive in Vienna at around 8:30 a.m. in the morning.

During the winter season, from November until March, flights will operate five days a week.

The service is offered in partnership with Star Alliance joint venture partner Austrian Airlines complimenting their Montreal-Vienna flights, which also begins in April 2019.

From left: ACV's Nino Montagnese, attendee Ryan Lester, AMPM's Armando Mendonca and Air Canada's Simona Cercel. Lester won the morning's big draw prize: round-trip airfare for two to Vienna courtesy of Air Canada.

Vienna by the numbers:

  • Vienna hosts more than 3,500 conventions annually
  • There are more than 180 direct flights available
  • Vienna has 65,000 hotel beds
  • 80 per cent of visitors are international tourists
  • There 850 public parks and gardens, 200 castles and palaces and more than 100 museums

Looking ahead

The theme for Vienna tourism next year is The Stage Is Yours, which will focus on Vienna's internationally-recognized music, theatre and exhibition stages, and because "Vienna distinguishes itself like no other city by bringing life to the stage,” reads Vienna tourism’s website.

Starting near the end 2019 and into 2020, Vienna will celebrate the 250th anniversary of Ludwig van Beethoven with a series of special events honouring the late great composer.

Although born and raised in Germany, Beethoven spent most of his life in Vienna, arriving in his early twenties in 1792 and remaining there until his death in 1827.

Vienna is full of Beethoven landmarks, including the Beethoven Museum, his grave and many memorial plaques. 

For  LGBT travellers and supporters, Vienna will host EuroPride 2019 from June 1-16, as well as its annual Life Ball, Europe’s largest and loudest HIV/AIDS fundraiser, which typically unfolds in late spring.  

Early booking bonuses

Air Canada Vacations is currently offering an attractive early booking bonus for packages to Europe: book 180 days early, save $1,000 per couple; 120 days early, save $500 per couple; 90 days early, save $300 per couple.

“The earlier you book, the better the prices typically are,” said Montagnese. “We’re looking to our partners to fill the planes.”

Become a Vienna expert

Agents and tour operators are encouraged to register with Vienna Experts Club International, a B2B page on Vienna’s tourism site. The program is aimed at employees of travel agencies and/or tour operators, airlines, transport companies and online travel portals and offers valuable sales and marketing tools, incentives and special promotions

For the latest tourism stats, figures and offerings in Vienna, click here.