For the first time, the Vienna Tourist Board served as host to a large group of Vienna Experts Club International (VECI) members in Vienna, from September 19–21, 2013.
In addition to the cultural highlights – like a tour of the newly reopened Kunstkammer at the Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna – the program also included a wine tasting and an interactive guessing game, followed by a visit to a traditional Viennese wine tavern, or “heuriger”, and a classic horse-drawn carriage ride through Vienna’s Inner City just past the “Goldenes Quartier”, the new luxury shopping area. While riding on the Vienna Ring Tram, the VECI members enjoyed an exciting preview of the main theme for 2015 – “150 years of the Ringstrasse”. The chance for an informal meeting with Vienna based partners from the tourism industry, which took place at the 21er Haus, a new exhibition space for contemporary art, provided the international guests with an array of information. Still, the highlight was the Viennese Ball in the Kursalon Vienna, which set the perfect mood for the annual theme “Vienna 2014: The art of enjoyment – dancing & celebrating.” Members of the Vienna-based Experts Club were likewise in attendance, ensuring an ideal networking opportunity between Viennese and international partners. To help the international guests perfect their skills in the art of the waltz beforehand, the Vienna Tourist Board arranged a dance lesson at Schönbrunn Palace.
The inspiration for this program was the global expansion of the Vienna Experts Club International at the start of 2013. Since then, employees of travel agencies and tour operators from every country in the world that offer Vienna travel services are eligible for membership. The total number of members has since soared to over 13,000 from 51 countries on all continents. The Club’s goal is to foster opportunities for its members to familiarize themselves with the city’s new and already famous attractions – by arranging free admission to museums and sights, for example, and through other benefits from Vienna’s providers of cultural, recreational, and gastronomic services. The Vienna Tourist Board founded VECI in 2006 in the German market and subsequently in Switzerland, France, Italy, Spain, Romania, and the Netherlands. As the numbers of participants steadily grew, VECI swiftly evolved into a success story.