The Austrian Burka Ban Has Not Stopped Tourism from Arab Countries
The burka ban that came into effect in Austria in October 2017 has not discouraged Arab tourists from visiting the country. According to official statistics given by the newspaper Aargauer Zeitung on January 3, 2019, the number of tourists from the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia even increased by 12% during the summer 2018 season in Austria. Astonishingly enough, it even increased by 45% in Zell am See, the very popular mountain resort in the Salzburg region.
According to the newspaper Salzburg Nachrichten, more than 200 women wearing veils were apprehended in this small town in the Austrian Alps. But the local authorities announced that they are counting more on prevention than repression: “We are trying to show as much tact and balance as possible,” declared Kurt Möschl, the local chief of police, to the AFP. “Most of the women” were willing to take off their veils after the agents reminded them of the law and gave them an information pamphlet. Only those who refused were forced to pay a 30-euro fine.
The Austrian diplomats in Arabian countries have been asked by the government to pass the message on and the ambassador of Saudi Arabia was summoned to Zell. Commander Möschl wishes to believe that with educational methods, the new law will soon be assimilated: “I think that in a few years, all of this will no longer be a problem.”