01/25/2023 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 01/25/2023 02:02
The European Investment Bank (EIB) has granted a €150 million loan to Österreichische Hotel- und Tourismusbank (ÖHT). It will be paid out in several tranches and go towards supporting small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the leisure and tourism industry in Austria. The loan is designed to enable family-run hotels and restaurants to invest in sustainable projects.
Based in Vienna, ÖHT is a financial institution specialised in the tourism industry. It was founded in 1947 to support tourism development and is governed by the Austrian SME Support Act. It operates exclusively in Austria in support of public policies. It is owned by Oesterreichische Kontrollbank AG and Raiffeisenbank International AG.
The EIB and ÖHT have a successful long-standing partnership financing sustainable tourism in Austria, but this is the first financing operation specifically devoted to investments in sustainable projects.
Tourism is one of the most important sectors in Austria, where most businesses are family owned. This means that ÖHT's customer base is almost exclusively made up of small and medium businesses. ÖHT will top up the EIB loan by at least the same amount, bringing the total available for additional long-term investment to €300 million. Thanks to these funds, the EIB and ÖHT will jointly help to develop the private sector and to create jobs and sustainable economic growth.
EIB Vice-President Thomas Östros, who is responsible for business in Austria, said: "Tourism plays an important role in the Austrian economy and helps to create jobs and economic growth due to the huge number of small, family-run hotels and restaurants. We are pleased to be supporting the environmentally friendly transformation of this sector alongside ÖHT."
Managing Director of ÖHT Matthias Matzer said: "Actively shaping the green transformation of tourism through assisted financing solutions is one of our most important strategic objectives. ÖHT believes it has a responsibility to make sustainability more than just a buzzword by integrating it into its future priorities. Thanks to our partnership with the EIB, we can now step up our support for sustainable tourism investment."
ÖHT establishes Sustainable Finance Board
ÖHT has established a Sustainable Finance Board to support the green transformation of tourism. This is designed to ensure compliance with sustainability criteria for assisted financing, to make the impact of this financing measurable and to provide a framework to prevent greenwashing. The board is made up of three employees from the fields of sustainability, market and risk. As part of the OeKB Group, ÖHT hopes to make a significant contribution to the credit institution's green asset portfolio and to support the green transformation of tourism by creating impact.
The EIB's key priorities are climate and the environment, development, innovation and skills, small and medium-sized enterprises, infrastructure and cohesion. It works closely with other EU institutions to foster European integration, further develop the European Union and promote EU policy objectives in more than 140 countries worldwide.
The Österreichische Hotel- und Tourismusbank (ÖHT) is Austria's bank for tourism development. It is one of the federal government's key policy instruments for developing the tourism industry and implementing projects to support tourism policy. As a national one-stop shop for the development and financing of small and medium leisure and tourism businesses, it plays a vital role in the green transformation of tourism in Austria. The share of renewable energy is set to be further increased through targeted subsidies, while the use of new technologies and digitalisation will also improve sustainability in the tourism sector as a whole.