December 25 - Austrian tourism is set to receive a major boost thanks to Innsbruck hosting the first-eve Winter Youth Olympic Games next month, it has been claimed.
Innsbruck is due to host the Games from January 13 until 22 and Peter Bayer, the chief executive of the Organising Committee, is confident that many participants will not only be staying in the region to enjoy its natural charm, which will help the region's tourist industry benefit financially, but will also return in the years to come once the event is over.
"I'm sure a lot of people will be coming back to Innsbruck to spend their holidays," Bayer told insidethegames.
"Many National Olympic Committees will come a week early or longer to enjoy the Tyrolian mountains and hospitality.
"We are a country living tourism – it is one of the main sources of income for the people here.
"Having the honour of having the Winter Youth Olympic games [Innsbruck also hosted the Winter Olympics in 1964 and 1976] will show the world the capacity of this country to not only host big events but also to have perfect sporting venues and facilities."
Another key part of the legacy is the Olympic village, which will provide 444 homes for people on low incomes after the Games, and Bayer is proud of the benefits this will have for the community, as well as its environmental impact, as the building is not just carbon neutral, but uses less energy than it emits, it is claimed.
"The Olympic Village [the third one in Innsbruck after the 1964 and 1976 Winter Olympics] is helping people with lower incomes to have great quality places to live," said Bayer (pictured above next to Innsbruck 2012 mascot Yoggl).
"[We also] took the chance to renovate the ski jump in Seefeld and a shooting range.
"It will be a training facility for young winter sport athletes in one of the world's leading nations."
The Winter Youth Olympic Games will see over 1,000 athletes come to Austria to compete in the same sports which are on the schedule for the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics.
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