India and Austria are equally and differently beautiful with a lot to offer then what is stereotyped, and we intend to intensify our efforts to spread this information, says Austrian Ambassador to India Brigitte Öppinger-Walchshofer.
Öppinger-Walchshofer feels films influence tourism of a place, and is not averse to the idea of getting a Bollywood star on board to be the face Austria tourism.
Austria is gradually becoming Bollywood’s preferred location to shoot. Portions of Ranbir Kapoor and Anushka Sharma-starrer “Ae Dil Hai Mushkil” and a romantic song from Salman Khan’s forthcoming film “Tiger Zinda Hai” was also shot in Austria. In fact, TV show “Pardes Mein Hai Mera Dil” was also set in Austria, and was shot there.
With the increase in projects being shot in the foreign locale, Öppinger-Walchshofer feels the information about the country, which offers beautiful mountain scenery, deep forests, snow-capped mountains, green hills as well as castles and palaces, need to be put forward.
In sync with the idea, the Producers Guild of India in association with Robinville Intech representing Innsbruck Tourism, Cine Tirol and Location Austria organized an event in Mumbai titled “Bollywood goes to Austria, Tirol and Innsbruck” earlier this month. The panel discussion highlighted Austria as the preferred destination for Bollywood film productions and the significant rise of Indian tourists visiting Austria in 2017.
What else can be done?
“We need to know more about the country, and what to do when they come to India. The tourists from Austria come to Delhi, Agra and Jaipur but forget about Udaipur.
“There is so much more about India, so work needs to be done here. We bring tourist agents from Austria to do the same, and we also invite Indian travel agents and show them what Austria has to offer…I think we need to showcase our countries. They are equally and differently beautiful and has much lot to offer then what is stereotyped.”
Öppinger-Walchshofer feels “film industry has a role to play”.
“‘The Sound of Music’ still resonates today, and some of the other films…so showcasing is necessary.”
Öppinger-Walchshofer added that there are organisations “but we need to communicate more” about them.
Tourism boards of foreign countries are getting Bollywood actor on board to get more attention, and develop an Indian connection.
Asked if they want to follow the same path, she said: “I don’t know whether the tourism board wants to do that…But it will be a good idea. They can speak to the people, and take the message forward.”