Austria suspends ski resort ads after tragedy

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SALZBURG -- Publicity for Austria's ski resorts is to be suspended in the wake of the Kaprun tunnel tragedy, the Tourism Ministry has announced. A fire on board a train on the Kitzsteinhorn funicular railway, while in the tunnel, has left around 150 people dead.

"Advertising for the winter season will be brought to a close across Austria and I have asked for organizers to postpone events for the time being," says Minister for Tourism Mares Rossmann. "We are in mourning and we have to avoid everything that could effect or cause pain to the relatives of those who died. However, suspending advertising does not mean that tourism will come to a stop."

Officials at the ministry will reconvene in three to four weeks to consider the issue again, she adds.

Salzburg Deputy Provincial Governor Wolfgang Eisl says there has been no increase in cancellations since the disaster, adding that "the economic concerns of the area are of no major relevance at the moment. We are only thinking of ways in which we can help the bereaved."

Mr. Eisl says he believes Austria's funicular railway system is safe: "People can certainly differentiate between a general lack of safety and a singular incident." However, he refuses to comment on the Kitzsteinhorn funicular railway in particular.

Copyright November 2000, Crain Communications Inc.

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