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2.1 mil­lion guests: record in Ad­vent

View of the festively illuminated Christmas market on Graz's main square
@ Holding Graz/Foto Fischer

With 2.1 million people, Advent attracted more visitors to the city centre of Graz this year than ever before. Compared to 2022, 100,000 more people were out and about in the city. And: Advent is becoming more international.

It is the biggest and longest event of the year in the Styrian capital – we are talking about “Advent in Graz”, which is a popular meeting place in the centre of Graz every year with numerous markets, sparkling Christmas lights, the world-famous ice cot and much more. Marketing at Holding Graz, which is responsible for the overall organisation of the many “sights” during Advent via City Management, begins preparations and the elaborate organisation of all the details every year in the summer.

As a look at the available frequency data from Graz city centre shows, the pre-Christmas offerings in Graz once again attracted millions of visitors this year: from mid-November to 24 December 2023, Advent attracted a total of 2.1 million people from Austria and abroad to the Styrian capital. This confirms what was already apparent before Christmas: 2023 was an absolute record year for Advent in terms of visitor frequency.

Advent makes Graz more international

Advent in the Styrian capital is a real highlight before Christmas, and not just for the people of Graz. As the analyses of the anonymously collected mobile phone data from A1 show, many international guests also flocked to Graz. On average, around 9 per cent of visitors came from abroad, with the proportion rising to over 15 per cent on Advent Saturdays, well above the annual average. The top 10 countries of origin included Croatia, Slovenia, Hungary, Germany, Italy, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Romania, Switzerland, the Netherlands and Ukraine.

Record number of visitors on Advent Saturdays

Around 200 stalls at a total of 14 Advent markets in Graz city centre radiated pre-Christmas flair among locals and visitors to the city in November and December. A particularly large number of people came to Graz city centre on the Advent Saturdays, with an average of 90,000 visitors. A new record was also broken last year – on Saturday, 16 December 2023, around 94,700 people visited Graz city centre, more than ever before since frequency measurements began in 2017 (compared to around 70,000 people on Advent Saturdays in 2019).

8 December 2023 also clearly beat previous years with around 68,000 visitors, making it the busiest public holiday since measurements began (compared to 41,000 people in 2019).

55,000 visitors a day in December

As the data shows, an average of 55,150 visitors came to the centre of Graz every day in December last year. The evening hours were particularly busy: The highest visitor numbers were recorded between 5.20 pm and 6.20 pm. The majority of visitors were female (around 56 per cent) and between 18 and 29 years old (19.2 per cent).

On average, visitors spent 2 hours and 11 minutes in the city centre in December, with longer stays if they arrived between 6.00 pm and 7.00 pm.

New Year’s Eve attracted around 50,000 visitors to the city centre

On 31 December 2023, the New Year’s Eve spectacle, the light show on Graz’s main square, once again attracted large crowds in the city centre. Exactly 49,300 visitors were out and about in Graz on New Year’s Eve, around 39,000 between 5 p.m. and midnight and 16,440 when the New Year was rung in at midnight.

With around 40,000 visitors, the New Year’s Eve spectacle was similarly well attended as in 2022, although there were fewer people out and about in the city throughout the day in 2023 (2022: 58,460 visitors). The decline is mainly due to the fact that New Year’s Eve 2023 fell on a Sunday and the shops were closed. Domestic visitors in particular were therefore absent from the city centre during the day on 31 December, while the proportion of tourists was roughly the same in 2022 and 2023 (around 5,600 visitors from abroad). At 12.2 percent, the proportion of tourists in Graz city centre was higher than during the day, especially at midnight.

In both 2022 and 2023, most visitors were out and about in the city centre between 11.50 pm and midnight.