About Austrias Image

The image of Austria - mountains or traditions and music?

Austria - Customs and landscape?

Two days ago,I  heard on the news that Austria now wants to start with nation branding. At the end of a long process, a kind of trademark Austria should  be found. I take this opportunity to recycle an article about Austrias image, which I wrote in 2010.

I know it already for a longer time: All of my guests from oversea, no matter whether they come from America, Asia or Australia (only from Africa  I had no couchsurfing guests until now) -have a very similar  image of Austria. Sound of Music, Mozart and music in general. Most suspect that these stereotypes can not be true . But sometimes I come across  guests who take it all a bit more serious.

I once had a Chinese host, who was not only totally surprised that it is a mountainous country (that’s Switzerland!), but she almost did not want me to believe that not everyone plays an instrument and is very musical. Mozart, on the other hand, was an important motive for her travels. However, not his music, but his tragic fate, was relevant to her. She did not really believe my notice that Mozart was not so poor , and some Internet searches later, she was visibly shaken, that   was not a poor devil.

I took this as an opportunity to do some research on Austria’s image. There is obviously a long tradition of image studies where the respondents are exposed to images and so-called word stimuli from a specific country , and they must correlate them  either to Austria, Germany or Switzerland. An example of such a study (in this case Indonesia) can be found here. All these studies have  a similar result in the end, that Austria is a land of culture, music and customs – Switzerland stands for the mountains and skiing and Germany stands for progress and intelligence.

What comes to people's mind, when they think about Austria

A survey of Austria Tourism at ITB (International Tourism Exchange Berlin (text in German) led to different results. For the majority of the German-speaking audience are ignorance (answer is “no idea”), mountains, skiing, Vienna and the Austrian Gemütlichkeit. Even if this was just a totally unrepresentative survey, I do think that the bottom line is very consistent.

So while in Europe nature and comfort characterize  Austria’s image, cultural aspects such as music and customs are more predominant for potential visitors from oversea. These Image measurements are quite relevant for the tourism advertising,as they are sharpened into clichés and then specifically marketed. I’ve added here, for example, a spot marketing Austria and titled “Charming Austria”, which plays very targeted with these clichés , where the country  is celebrated as a place of music, traditions and festivals.




  1. Just wanna remark on few general things, The website pattern is perfect, the content material is very good : D.

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