From classical composers like Mozart, Strauss and Haydn brothers to movie star Arnold Schwarzenegger, from architect Otto Wagner to artist Gustav Klimt, Austria is home to many world-famous characters. It serves as a major business gateway to Central and Eastern Europe and is ranked as the fourth most globalised country in the world according to the KOF Globalisation Index.

Indonesia Design’s editor in chief was selected as one of the participants for the 9th Austrian Leadership Programs (ALPS), which took place on 11-16 March this year. Organised by the Austrian Federal Ministry for Europe Integration and Foreign Affairs, ALPS brings together leading decision-makers from countries all over the world to meet Austria’s key representatives from both business and public sectors.

There are four ALPS programs held annually and the ninth’s itinerary included two cities, Vienna and Bregenz, with the participation of 28 people from 20 countries. Upon arrival in Vienna, all participants were introduced to the Austrian Foreign Ministry, the Federation of Austrian Industries, the Austrian Chamber of Commerce and the Diplomatic Academy.

The program started with a panel discussion and meeting with Austrian Foreign Minister Karin Kneissl, and Secretary General Michael Linhart, followed by a visit to the United Nations headquarters for a guided tour and presentation. Later in the trip, the group also saw presentations by the Federation of Austrian Industries, Austrian Airlines, OBB railway and Erste Bank.

In Bregenz, the group was warmly welcomed by Mayor Markus Linhart. With only 26,000 citizens, Bregenz is the capital of Austria’s Vorarlberg state. Sharing Lake Constance with Germany and Switzerland, Vorarlberg is both a beautiful place and a business-friendly state for its quick and unbureaucratic handling of official approvals, corporate taxation system and lower labour unit cost. It carries the motto “working where others holiday” and is home to big family-owned companies like Doppelmayr, Bertsch, Rupp and Rauch, which the group visited during the trip. The state visit was resumed with State Parliament, Harald Sonderegger’s presentation.

ALPS 9 participants weren’t hiding their excitement when riding a cable car to Pfänderbahn for dinner at Pfänderdohle. Each participant was awarded a certificate at Schlumberger’s winery and went on to enjoy a guided tour to Schönbrunn Palace and a concert at Schönbrunn Palace Orangery.

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Natasha Gan
Natasha is a writer and a digital marketing professional currently based in Toronto, Canada.