Insight Europe Insight Vienna encourages longer stays, with locals' blessings By Felicity Long / May 15, 2017 Share 1 -- Overtourism has been a hot topic in Europe lately, with such destinations as Barcelona, Venice and Reykjavik among those struggling to balance the needs of visitors and residents.The problem of overcrowding goes beyond waiting in long lines at attractions, finding tables at restaurants or snagging reasonably priced hotel rooms. Another issue is the attitude of locals to tourists and how that affects the visitor experience.If they don't want you there, you feel it.With that in mind, the Vienna Tourist Board carried out its most extensive survey to date gauging attitudes of Vienna's residents to tourism.Austria's capital city recorded nearly 15 million overnight stays in 2016, which represents a boost of 25% over the last five years. It also means that there were four times as many visitors overall last year as there are Viennese residents.But the locals seem to be OK with that. A whopping 90% of responders say the city, its residents and economy benefit from tourism, with 89% confirming that tourism is an important economic generator for the city.Perhaps even more importantly, 82% said they believe that their daily lives are not disrupted by tourists, and three-quarters see themselves as part of the tourist destination who help define the impression guests take away from a visit to the city.Because of these generally positive attitudes on the part of locals, the goal of the Austrian Tourist Office isn't so much to lure people away from Vienna but to try to encourage them to "extend their stay beyond Vienna and explore other parts of Austria," said Michael Gigl, director of the Austrian Tourist Office USA."Within Vienna there are conscious efforts to make visitors aware of, and bring them to, lesser known ... vibrant neighborhoods and offer locals and guests alike very authentic and truly Viennese experiences," he said.Gigl cited the 7th District, for example, for its young entrepreneurs, artisanal shops and edgy craftsmanship, all of which give the area "a very international but yet unmistakably Viennese flair."Also of interest is the 2nd District, with its ethnic diversity, outdoor markets and vibrant and interesting food scene, he said.Repeat visitors and millennials are especially likely to enjoy these off-the-beaten-track districts, Gigl said, especially those interested in fine dining, wine and shopping."Only a city that is good to its residents is also good to its guests," said Norbert Kettner, the director of Vienna Tourism, explaining the rationale for conducting the extensive survey on the attitude to tourism of the Viennese population.