The Danube Tourist Commission recently celebrated its 40th year and has moved to new offices in Vienna and named a new president, Bettina Schuckert, succeeding Ursula Deutsch who has retired. The commission’s website has also been revamped: www.danube-river.org
River traffic has picked up significantly over the past five years, jumping from 150,000 passengers in 2004 to more than 225,000 sailing on 110 different vessels in 2009. The upward trend is continuing, according to the commission, which also noted that American tourists are returning after several years of absence.
Since 1998, the commission has also been involved in marketing the Main-Danube Canal as well as the Tisza/Sava region. The focus of its activities, however, lies in promoting the river and riverbanks to the north and south as a tourist destination. The cruise season has been extended to 240 days a year and new programs include bicycling and hiking along the river. More efforts will go into promoting cruises combined with land excursions.
Originating in the Black Forest in Germany, the Danube flows eastward for a distance of nearly 1,800 miles, passing through four capitals: Vienna, Bratislava, Budapest and Belgrade. It empties into the Black Sea through the Danube Delta in Romania and Ukraine.
Founded in Vienna in 1970, current members include the national tourist boards of Germany, Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, Croatia, Serbia and Romania.