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Austria receives record visitors from UAE

Austria received a record amount of visitors from the United Arab Emirates in 2013, according to the Austrian National Tourist Office.

Over 70,000 people from the UAE visited the country last year, an increase of 23% on the previous year.

The record year comes after a decade of significant growth of tourists from the Middle East to the Alpine Republic, with a total increase of 612% over the past decade - making Austria has been the fastest growing country in Europe to attract visitors from this region.

To boost the tourist numbers further, the Vienna Tourist Board are recreating one of Vienna's picturesque parks - Volksgarten - at Marina Mall in Abu Dhabi and Dubai Festival City.

The statistics follow the news that Salzburg tourist officials had created an etiquette guide for Arabs in a bid to stop them trying to haggle over prices, cooking in their rooms, and dumping their litter around the region.

Local tourism office spokesperson Renate Ecker admitted that there were also tourism destinations in the region that did not so readily accept Arab guests, in particular those where there was a ban on people wearing a Burka, with the traditional costume being the biggest cause for concern in the area.

However some local business owners disagreed with the leaflet, including hotel owner Wilfried Holleis who said he had absolutely no problem with Arab guests and that the whole discussion was a sign of the intolerance in the area.

He said: "I see it as a kind of tourism apartheid. I think there are much more serious problems here, for example the number of people who don't spend any time here but buy property which is effectively just a holiday house and therefore make little or no contribution to the local economy."

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