Austria's tourism sector is concerned that the government's planned ban on full-face veils in public places will damage Austria's image for visitors from the Gulf States and will have a negative impact on tourism numbers.

A government spokesperson has said the ban would apply for tourist destinations such as the Zell am See ski resort as well as the urban centre of Vienna. Under the proposal women who wear the niqab or burqa in public places can be fined €150 by the police. If the woman refuses to remove her face veil she could be taken to a police station.

"Has anyone considered the impact this ban would have on tourism?" asked Andrea Steinleitner, who represents hoteliers in Vienna's Chamber of Commerce. Tourists from the Middle East spend a lot of money when they visit Austria and are one of the fastest growing markets for tourism in the country.

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