Breaking Travel News interview: Martha Schultz, Shultz Gruppe

Heinz and Martha and Schultz in Austria

The personal commitment of the Schultz family has made Shultz one the largest hospitality operators in Europe.

Distinguished by their modern infrastructure, highest quality in snow, superlative skiing and exquisite catering, the resorts have recently come to the attention of the World Travel Awards, with Gradonna Mountain Resort Châlets & Hotel taking the title of Europe’s Leading Green Resort.

Breaking Travel News here calls in to find out more.

Breaking Travel News: Could we begin with a brief overview of Shultz; your activities span ski resorts, hotels and even golf? Quite some collection.

Martha Schultz: The Best Mountain Brands, Schultz Group, is the largest family-run concern in Austria and combines summer and winter tourism in Tirol, Osttirol and Kärnten.

We operate a range of ski areas and mountain areas, including:

  • Ski-Optimal Hochzillertal/Kaltenbach. 
  • Großglockner Resort Kals-Matrei.
  • Skizentrum Hochpustertal-Sillian.
  • St. Jakob in Defereggental.
  • Mölltaler Gletscher and Ankogel Bergbahnen in Mölltal.

In 2012 we opened the Gradonna’s Mountain Resort Châlets & Hotel, with 115 rooms and 41 Châlets, in Kals.

The property sits directly on the slope of the Großglockner Resorts Kals-Matrei and in the middle of the Hohe Tauern national park.

The Dolomiten Residenz Sporthotel Sillian, with 106 rooms, is also nearby the slope, on the Skizentrum Hochpustertal-Sillian.

This summer the first family-wellness hotel in Osttirol gets a complete facelift with a neo-alpine interior design and elegant wooden facade, enhancing its rating to four star superior.

The focal point of the Best Mountain Brands lies on a high class tourism.

BTN: Your activities are focused on Austria; how would you describe the hospitality market there at present? Are you benefiting from the boom in European economy optimism?

MS: You can mark Tyrol as a ‘leading champion’ in the hospitality market.

In no other country in the world you can count circa 60 overnight stays per inhabitant. 

Nearly 25,000 companies make a living from and with tourism.

The benefit for all the other branches of trade is obvious, with more than 53.000 persons are working in the tourism.

BTN: The ski season is fast approaching across the continent, what new innovations do you have in store for visitors this winter?

MS: Our ski resorts are a winning combination of state of the art infrastructure, high quality artificial snow making facilities and fantastic restaurants.

We invest each season in improvements in all sectors of our ski resorts.

In Hochzillertal we rebuilt the valley station into a service station for our winter guests.

More information boards, video walls, a new and exclusive aprés ski lounge and much more are also on offer.

The ski area also got one new lift and two new blue pistes this season.

BTN: How do you see the future of ski travel? Do you feel the sector can continue to grow at the pace it has in recent years?

MS: The winter tourists expect more service.

When the prices are rising we must also improve the standards and create the ‘wow-effect’ for the guests. 

The demand on this market is really high and it is difficult to combine ski tourism with sustainability.

Certainly will some ski areas fall by the wayside if they don´t invest and improve.

BTN: One of the properties under your management - Gradonna Mountain Resort Châlets & Hotel – has recently been nominated for the title of Europe’s Leading Green Resort at the World Travel Awards. How does it feel to have been recognised in this way?

MS: We are proud that we created a sustainable holiday culture in the unadulterated nature of East Tyrol – and now we have also written a book about Gradonna.

A project which is trying to combines nature and quality tourism.

Many people are telling us that we managed this in a good way. 

But we want also show the Gradonna to people who do not know much about this resort, as well as people who want to have a memory of their stay.

It is no image folder, but rather a book, which shows the speciality of this place with strong natural power.

Inge Prader, one of the most famous Austrian photographers took the pictures of Gradonna from her own point of view, while the travel journalist Christian Eder composed the text.