Austria is one of the most prosperous countries in the world. Manufacturing, including mining, accounts for nearly 30% of GDP. Since WWII, much of the country's industrial capacity has been in state hands and only recently has been removed from under the protective wing of the state holding company, OIAG.
Tourism is a hugely important part of the Austrian economy, especially since joining the EU in 1995. Its agriculture industry is also extremely successful, with domestic products meeting 90% of the country's food needs. Austria has moderate deposits of iron, lignite, magnesium, lead, copper, salt, zinc and silver. Although there are some oil reserves and an extensive hydroelectric programme, Austria imports two-thirds of its energy requirements.
The previously substantial trade with both the USA and the former USSR has fallen proportionally in recent years. Austria met the criteria for membership of the single European currency and joined it upon its inception at the beginning of 1999, adopting the Euro as its currency. Since then, in common with most of the EU, the economy has been sluggish. However, GDP growth was just over 3% in 2006, while inflation was at 1.7%, down from 2.6% in 2005.
Austria has 31 conference venues, including over 20 in Vienna and a floating conference centre, the MS Mozart, on the river Danube. The provincial capitals of Salzburg, Innsbruck, Graz, Linz, Bregenz, Klagenfurt and Eisenstadt also offer convention venues, as do several health and spa resorts. Furthermore, there are approximately 70 hotels in Austria which specialise in the conference/convention field. For more detailed information, contact the Austrian National Tourist Office (see Contact Addresses).