World's 2nd-most pleasant city 'Vienna' seeks more footfalls from India

Sakshi Chaturvedi
Published on: 27 Aug 2017 6:53 AM GMT
Worlds 2nd-most pleasant city Vienna seeks more footfalls from India
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Vienna: The second-most pleasant city to live in? Well, second is not bad, considering that Vienna held the top position in the quality of life survey for eight years in a row.

The city of music, Austria's capital and its largest city with a population of 2.6 million within its metropolitan area, gets 6.8 million tourists a year, compared to around nine million for the whole of India, and it wants more, including a step up from over 50,000 Indians who visited last year.

"Indians show great love for our country and we have a growing number of visitors from your country. In the recent past, two major weddings have taken place here and Vienna and other places are also attracting Bollywood for film shoots at our beautiful locales. We cherish this bond and hope that it gets better and better in the days to come," Isabella Rauter, Public Relations Manager for Vienna Tourist Board.

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The 64,000 visitor bednights recorded by Indian travellers grew 15 per cent in January to June 2017, placing it among the high-growth tourist markets along with China, Russia and Australia.

The cultural, economic, and political centre is notable for its castles (27), palaces (163) and museums (109). But above all it's a magnet for music lovers from across the world.

Consider this: Musicians who came to work in the city from other parts of Europe include, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Ludwig van Beethoven, Johannes Brahms, Franz Liszt, Joseph Haydn, Anton Bruckner and Gustav Mahler.

Those who were born in Vienna include Franz Schubert, Johann Strauss I&II, Fritz Kreisler and Joseph Lanner. It would be difficult to find another city in the world where such concentration of musical talent abounded. It has over 120 music and theatre stages and holds more than 15,000 concerts annually.

The second-most pleasant city in the world title was given to it by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) last week, which gave the top ranking to Melbourne, Australia. The EIU's survey assesses the livability of cities based on a number of key factors, including stability and the quality of healthcare, culture, the environment, education and infrastructure.

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The top rank, for the eighth year, was given to it earlier this year by the annual Mercer Quality of Life Survey, which ranks 231 cities by evaluating various factors including healthcare, education, housing and environment. "Despite increased political and financial volatility in Europe, many of its cities offer the world's highest quality of living and remain attractive destinations for expanding business operations and sending expatriates on assignment," a Mercer press release had stated.

One of the first things one notices about the Austrian capital is the greenery. The lined, neatly cut, manicured agriculture fields and the meadows have a way of just taking away the fatigue of travel. Vienna is one of the greenest cities in Europe.

With more than 50 per cent of the city accounted for by green spaces, Vienna is one of the world's greenest big cities and its city limits are defined by a green belt of woodland, meadows, gardens and arable land. But as one strolls down the heart of the city, the elegant parks dotting the Ringstrasse boulevard, the Prater park and the Baroque formal gardens of Schönbrunn Palace, and the Belvedere draw one with their serenity amid the mad rush of vehicles, trams and the subway trains.

And the fact that the Parks and Garden Department works overtime to maintain the roughly 850 parks and the whopping 100,000 trees that line Vienna's streets is an understatement. The fine pruning of the trees, the choice of the plantation and the upkeep , everything keeps you both engaged and amazed.

The other beauty of green Vienna is the Stadtpark, Vienna's oldest public park, which was opened in 1862, the guide, Illis Heigberth, informs this correspondent. Lined with shrubs along the winding pathways and ponds, it is another "not to be missed" place.

The glassed Palm House which is divided in two, a café restaurant as well as the capital's Butterfly House -- is also something not to be missed. The Butterfly House can be warm and suffocating in the summer months but the cold cucumber soup with goat cheese could be the right things to order at the cafe next door.

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"It is a lovely place. We have been there twice and keep yearning for more. Our friends who live there took us around and I am still mesmerized by the beauty of the countryside," said Neelam Chopra, a resident of Lucknow, adding that the greenery was one thing that she is unable to "get off my memory".

For a person from India, where cities have been converted into concrete jungles, Vienna is indeed an urban oasis that gives you the much-needed break from the monotony as well as the mad scramble of life.

IANS

Sakshi Chaturvedi

Sakshi Chaturvedi

A journalist, presently working as a Sub-Editor at newstrack.com.

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