Kitzbühel : Tourism Insights

Travel Team
By Travel Team 9 Min Read

The tasks of Kitzbühel Tourism include strategic planning for the area, tourism marketing, the infrastructural attractiveness of the region, and securing the support of its members in the creation of guest services and event management. Viktoria Veider-Walser, Executive Director, tells us more.


Can you talk us through the origins of Kitzbühel Tourism and its initial vision?

Viktoria Veider-Walser, Executive Director (VVW): We could say that the history of tourism in Kitzbühel began primarily with summer tourism. Tourism in Kitzbühel started in the early 1850s with the concept of ‘Sommerfrische’, meaning summer retreat. Boasting two train stations and the Grand Hotel, Kitzbühel became a popular summer destination for people from all over the world. However, the town’s tourism landscape began to evolve in 1893, when Franz Reisch laid the foundation for skiing in Kitzbühel, leading to the rise of the renowned Hahnenkamm races. Since then, Kitzbühel has gained fame as an exclusive winter sports destination and has established itself as one of the most prestigious holiday resorts. 

What are your organisation’s current goals and how do you plan to achieve them?

VVW:  Kitzbühel Tourism focuses on strengthening its brand identity and supports initiatives that align with our defined target groups. Another key responsibility is to consistently meet expectations for quality and convenience, thereby maintaining the strength of our brand. Kitzbühel Tourism actively promotes itself as the perfect spot for holidays and executive meetings, but is also responsible for infrastructure projects like the upkeeping of hiking trails and so on. A primary goal is to cater to the needs and desires of our guests in Kitzbühel by creating unique experiences and opportunities. One of our responsibilities is therefore organising and hosting our events, for example the KITZ Kulinarik Festival, Kitzbühel Klassik, Kitzbühel Advent, and many more. Emphasising all-year-round tourism is crucial for Kitzbühel. Our objective is to sustain interest and accessibility to sporting activities throughout all seasons for both tourists and locals. Importantly, our aim extends beyond serving tourists; we also strive to foster a positive attitude towards tourism among the local community. 

Why, in your opinion, should someone visit Kitzbühel, and what defines the location?

VVW:  There are numerous reasons to visit Kitzbühel, which is self-proclaimed as the most legendary destination in the Alps since 1850 and is a unique blend of tradition and lifestyle. It offers unspoiled nature and a wide array of sports, allowing visitors to experience the charm and distinctive approach to life in Kitzbühel. The town hosts year-round events, ensuring it’s always lively. Renowned as the most awarded ski resort in the Alps, Kitzbühel also boasts a range of culinary delights, from high-end to traditional options. A standout feature of Kitzbühel is its local craftsmanship, exemplified by master tailor Franz Prader. The town’s unique contrasts are evident in the variety of events it hosts, ranging from intimate gatherings like Pura Vida and KITZ Kulinarik to large-scale events such as the Hahnenkamm race. If you prefer to enjoy the silence, there are many hideaways.   

As a culturally vibrant destination, what type of travellers does Kitzbühel typically attract?

VVW:  Kitzbühel is known for attracting an international clientele. Since the 1850s, Austrians and Germans have loved to spend their time in our beautiful region all year long. The “Gamsstadt” is also well known in many other countries: British visitors have been frequenting Kitzbühel for more than 170 years, along with travellers from the US, Australia, various European countries, the Middle East, and Scandinavia. It’s evident that travellers to Kitzbühel value the excellent blend of sports and lifestyle that the city offers. The convenient location, close to three airports, facilitates easy access for visitors, making it a popular destination in both summer and winter. 

What does Kitzbühel offer in terms of sustainable or eco-friendly travel experiences? Do you have any goals in place regarding this?

VVW: I believe that sustainability is a crucial factor in the travel industry, yet it needs to present a win-win situation to entice the majority of guests to opt for sustainable choices. Kitzbühel has set multiple objectives towards becoming more sustainable. Significant investments have been made by our cable car company, KitzSki. Notably, Kitzbühel is the only ski resort with three train stations. The Kitzbühel-Schwarzsee-Reith golf course avoids using pesticides and has established a 2,000 square-metre (sqm) flower meadow to support bee colonies. A notable achievement was realised in late summer 2022, when 45 kilogrammes (kg) of honey was harvested. The regional KitzShop offers products from Austrian producers, and Kitzbühel Tourism engages in sustainable advertising, such as campaigns in collaboration with CO2-free billboard companies in Vienna. 

VVW:  Generally, the average length of stay is decreasing. Consequently, Kitzbühel Tourism, along with other tourism boards, faces the challenge of attracting more visitors. We’ve noticed that travellers are increasingly conscious of environmental responsibility and the value of local products. The demand for local products and craftsmanship is growing. People get more sensitive about how sustainable we act, and a new understanding of luxury is established. To capture this trend, we’ve featured local heroes and personalities in Kitzbühel on our KitzBlog and on social media, which give you an insight into their work and their passion for what they do. These individuals contribute in various ways to the unique lifestyle of Kitzbühel. 

Are you optimistic about the future of the tourism industry for Kitzbühel, particularly with regard to bouncing back from the COVID-19 pandemic?

VVW:  One of the sectors which has suffered the most from the pandemic has been the tourism sector. Still, bad times in combination with creative thinking can generate the best results. Challenging times often require innovative thinking, creative solutions, and at the same time, a lot of responsibility and accountability. 

Are there any particularly unique experiences or underrated activities that Kitzbühel has to offer, which are perhaps lesser known?

VVW:  Depending on individual preferences, Kitzbühel offers a variety of activities. One of my favourites is watching the sunset at the Seidlalmsee.  

Another personal highlight is the Kitzbüheler Horn in March, where there’s plenty of sunlight. For those seeking adventure and adrenaline, I highly recommend mountain bikes and road bikes on the steep road up onto the Kitzbüheler Horn, or taking an ice bath in the Schwarzsee.  

For lunch, I suggest places like Huberbräu and Rasmushof – you won’t be disappointed. Kitzbühel is not only about sports activities; it’s also known for local manufacturers such as the fashion store Frauenschuh and the goldsmith Margarete Klingler. Another unique experience is visiting the local farm store, Unsere Kiste. Additionally, the KitzShop is worth exploring. 

For skiing enthusiasts, an insider tip is to start your ski day at 08:30am to enjoy moments of freedom and peace. Cross-country skiing enthusiasts will find the sports trail at the Kitzbühel Schwarzsee-Reith golf course appealing, especially as it’s illuminated until 9:30pm.

Read Issue 15 of Outlook Travel Magazine