Water & Tourism

The Danube - A River's Lure

Despite differing economic and political systems, seven of the then eight states along the Danube joined together in 1972 to form a tourism marketing association.

The aim which united them was to make the Danube region–defined as a seventy-kilometer (forty three-mile) wide band along both banks of the great river–better known internationally and to promote tourism in the area. In 1998 the Danube Tourist Commission extended its activities to include the Main-Danube Canal.

The Danube Tourist Commission was founded at a time when no one could foresee the fall of the Iron Curtain, and it can thus justly claim to be the first tourism organization in the world to have spanned the great political and ideological divide. Today member countries can look back on over thirty years’ experience of working together in a remarkably unbureaucratic manner.

Today the Danube Tourist Commission brings together countries with such varied histories as Germany, Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, Croatia (since 1998), and Romania (membership resumed in 1999). In 2002, Yugoslavia, which changed its official name to Serbia and Montenegro in February 2003, became a member once again. Casinos Austria AG participates in the Commission’s work as a supporting member. Bulgaria’s membership is termporarily suspended. Of the ten Danube riparian states Moldova and Ukraine are currently not members of the Danube Tourist Commission.

At the Danube Tourist Commission’s thirty-third General Assembly 2004 in Budapest, the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Serbia joined the Danube Tourist Commission as a supporting member. 2005 saw the admission of the newest supporting member, Bonaventura Cruises, managed by Dutch ship-owners, Jan C. van den Engel and Herman H. Weulen Kranenberg.

The Danube Tourist Commission also has endeavored to work together with important EU bodies, regional and national Danube organizations. As part of these activities mutual membership relations were established in 2004 with the

  • Working Community of Danubian Regions (ARGE Donauländer),
  • Institute for the Danube and Central Europe (IDM),
  • International Commission for the Protection of the Danube River (ICPDR),and the
  • Danube Co-operation Process.

Close collaboration was also maintained with

  • EU Corridor VII (Danube)/Tina Vienna Transport Strategies and the association
  • “The Route of Emperors and Kings – Regensburg to Budapest.”

The Danube Tourist Commission is also member of the Vienna UNESCO association.

The Danube Tourist Commission is organized officially as an association. Member states are represented by their national tourism organizations. They are supported in their work by supporting members, currently Casinos Austria,, the Serbian Chamber of Industry and Commerce and Bonaventura Cruises. The Danube Tourist Commission is financed by membership dues.

President of the Danube Tourist Commission since December 1996 has been Mr. Gerhard Skoff of Casinos Austria. The president is assisted by two deputies, Knud Jörgen from the German National Tourist Office in Vienna and Sabine Holzmann of the Austrian National Tourist Office also in Vienna, who together comprise the managing board. The offices of the secretary general headed by Ursula Deutsch are located in Vienna at Margaretenstrasse 1, A-1040 Vienna (Tel.: +43/1/588 66-264,Fax: +43/1/588 66-20).

On October 7th 2005 the Novi Sad pontoon bridge has finally been dismanteled, giving again free passage to cruises through the Iron Gates and as far as the Danube delta.

In 2002, about 10,000 passengers travelled on such cruises, whilst a total of 119,000 guests were recorded on cruise liners between. In 2003 the number rose to 45,000 passengers on Delta cruises, and to 130,000 cruise passengers between Passau and Budapest. By October 2004 some 43,000 passengers called at Belgrade, 22,000 at Novi Sad. In 2004, over 90 cruise liners carrying approx. 150,000 passengers plied the Danube. In the 2005 season, 100 cruise ships sailed the river, for 2006 109 ships are expected.

The activities of the Danube Tourist Commission range from the creation of a uniform corporate identity symbolized by the distinctive blue Danube wave logo to the production of brochures and media work. The latter includes the publication of the “Danube Press Service” in German, English, French, and Italian. Excursion and cruise ship schedules, yacht guide, and a compendium of musical events, “The Musical Danube”, are also produced. The Danube Tourist Commission is present on the worldwide web at www.danube-river.org

The Danube Tourist Commission selected “The Danube and Europe” as its annual theme for 2002, “Man, Myths and Tales” for 2003, “The Musical Danube” for 2004, “Danube Landscapes” for 2005 and “Danube delights” for 2006.

The Danube Sales Manual, whose production was sponsored by the Austrian Federal Ministry for Transport, Infrastructure and Technology, is available online at www.danubesalesmanual.com . The sales manual is the first international on-line sales guide providing information on cultural events, places of interest and tourism services along the Danube in Germany, Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, Croatia, Serbia and Romania.

A marketing instrument of particular importance organized by the Danube Tourist Commission is the Danube Travel Mart. A specialized tourism trade fair, the Travel Mart takes place every other year in a different member state. To date, Vienna, Belgrade, Budapest, Regensburg, Bratislava, Linz, Ulm, Krems and Bucharest have played host to the Danube Travel Mart. The twelfth Danube Travel Mart was held in January 2004 in Vienna together with atb-Austrian Travel Business. This very successful co-operation was repeated for the thirteenth Danube Travel Mart in Vienna (January 29-31, 2006).

In 1997, the Danube Tourist Commission held its first Danube Shipping Conference in Linz, where representatives of shipping companies, cruise operators, and tourist industry professionals had the opportunity to meet and exchange views. This successful initiative was followed up by meetings in Györ, Baden near Vienna, Bratislava, Passau, Belgrade, Vienna and Budapest. Linz will host the 2006 Danube Shipping Conference.

The Danube Tourist Commission cooperated closely with ICPDR in organizing celebrations for the first Danube Day on June 29, 2004. In 2006, Danube Day will be observed June 22-24.

To mark the start of the shipping season, Danube Navigation Day is celebrated with cross-border festivities every year on the last Sunday in April: 2006 30 April. The Danube Tourist Commission helped to develop this marketing event together with other organizations.

Contact & Information:

Danube Tourist Commission
Ursula Deutsch
Margaretenstraße 1
A-1040 Vienna
Tel.: +43-1-58866-264


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