Artist Klimt celebrations help Vienna to record tourism year

Visitors to the Belvedere Museum in Vienna look at Klimt’s painting ‘Der Kuss’ (The Kiss). — AFP picVisitors to the Belvedere Museum in Vienna look at Klimt’s painting ‘Der Kuss’ (The Kiss). — AFP picVIENNA, Jan 22 — Special events marking the 150th anniversary of the birth of painter Gustav Klimt helped Vienna enjoy a record year for tourism in 2012, with overnight stays rising 7.5 per cent, the Austrian capital’s tourism board said yesterday.

“I would like to give Gustav Klimt a ‘Kiss’,” tourism chief Norbert Kettner said, in reference to the Austrian artist’s most famous painting.

“All museums and cultural institutions with Klimt works deserve special thanks.”

In total, 5.6 million people visited Vienna, 7.2 per cent more than in 2011, accounting for 12.3 million overnight stays. Kettner said he expects “moderate” growth in 2013.

Hotels were also expected to have earned more than €500 million (RM2 billion) for the first time, helped by a 22 per cent rise in Russian visitors and a 40 per cent jump from China.

Born in 1862, Klimt was a key figure of Vienna’s art scene during its heyday as a cultural and intellectual hub, bustling with the likes of Sigmund Freud, Adolf Loos, Egon Schiele and Otto Wagner. — AFP-Relaxnews



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