Tavern belongs to Lower Austria “like mashed potatoes to Fleschlauberlen or apricots to Wachau,” the state governor stressed. “We do not want the population – if I may exaggerate – to be able to see the last schnitzel in the museum at some point,” said Landbauer in St. Pölten: “The regional, traditional cuisine must be promoted.” Now it’s about “igniting the pub turbo”, Landbauer stressed.
Cited as a model for bonuses Mikal Leitner tyrol. Here, aid introduced in 2019 for the acquisition of existing inns has now been doubled to 20,000 euros. Based on the experience of Tyrol, Lower Austria is expected to receive a maximum of 20 applications per year.
The Lower Austrian package, consisting of three funding tracks, aims to maintain and strengthen pubs. A total of up to 100,000 euros of assistance can be provided for a company. The largest portion of this goes to support start-ups and takeovers, which will be continued. There is a plan to subsidize ten percent of the investment or up to a maximum of 50,000 euros. Funding will be quadrupled to €40,000 for investments in inns and hotels – from furniture to guest gardens. The amount of grant is maximum 20 percent of the investment amount.
Since 2000, the number of inns in Lower Austria has fallen from 2,800 to 1,819 – one in three has closed, he said. Mikal Leitner, Landbauer described it as a task of state politics to preserve and especially promote “the cultural heritage of Sarai”. “We stand with local cuisine, we stand with our local tavern owners,” the Freedom Party said.
Mario Pulker, chairman of the tourism and leisure sector at the Lower Austrian Chamber of Commerce (WKNO), spoke of “the mass death of landowners in rural areas”. Restaurant owners are facing severe staff shortages, massively increased interest rates and rising food prices. According to Pulkar, 30 percent of companies are facing acquisitions in the next few years. The package should help curb the death toll in the country.
Landbauer described the package as an important part of the OVP-FPO working agreement. The Freedom Party had already called for pub bonuses and takeover support in 2019 as part of a six-point plan to, among other things, preserve pub culture.
In a press release, State Councilor Sven Hergovich, leader of the SpO state party, spoke of general support for the taverns. But he called for “reform and greater social balance”. “Funding should stop the death of pubs, not just slow them down,” Hergovich said.