Authorities in Austria have faced sharp criticism after offering festivalgoers a free nationwide public transport ticket in exchange for a tattoo.
Austrian officials reportedly placed pop-up tattoo shops at the Electric Love Festival in Salzburg and the Frequency Festival in St. Polten offered guests free public ride for a year in July and August.
However in order to get the chance to utilise the public transport freely people had to in exchange get a tattoo saying ‘Klimaticket’ – the name of a recently launched annual pass with the same purpose.
Green MP and Austria’s climate minister Leonore Gewessler had promoted the campaign during the festival in St. Polten on Thursday, 17th August.
She had additionally got a temporary tattoo of her own saying ‘Gewessler takes the lead’, and claimed that the deal was harmless.
The action – aimed for three people at each festival – was advertised all over social media by the national sales platform One Mobility GmbH.
They said in a post on Instagram: “This action gets under your skin.
“If you are one of the first three courageous people to have your logo or a KlimaTicket engraved, you will receive a KlimaTicket valid for one year!”
Meanwhile, campaign organisers revealed that a total of six people at both festivals took the offer and got their tattoos in turn for a free ticket.
They added that several more people received free tattoos with various environmental designs, but by the time all free tickets had already been handed out.
Around 10 people a day at each festival took part in the action, said campaign officials.
Managing Director of One Mobility GmbH, Jakob Lambert said: “The feedback at the festivals was extremely positive.
“None of them got the first tattoo of their life, it was more like people who already have a few and now have one more.
“The campaign is extremely well received by the target group, there are extremely many visitors who want to beautify their bodies with tattoos.
“We don’t know yet whether there will be a repeat next year.”
But both Gewessler and the campaign were subjected to criticism on social media platforms.
Austrian politician and member of the National Council of Austria since 2019, Henrike Brandstoetter, 47, wrote on Twitter: “I know my way around when it comes to questionable tattoos, often created spontaneously in a party mood.
“The Klimaticket tattoo is above all not worth it. Offering people money for putting advertising under their skin – and from a minister – reveals an unacceptable view of humanity.”
Austrian journalist and author Florian Rudolf Klenk, 50, said: “This ‘climate ticket for tattoo’ campaign is cynicism and mockery of those who have no money and therefore put their skin on the market.”
And Austrian human rights activist and politician Fayad Mulla, 42, commented: “If you are too poor for a climate ticket, then sell your body as an advertising space.
“This is really the last straw.”
Gewessler meanwhile defended the campaign by saying that the tattoos were only offered to festival visitors above 18, and solely during the day, when people are less likely to be intoxicated.
The annual Klimaticket can be used on nearly all public transport in Austria, enabling people to travel throughout the country for EUR 3 (GBP 2.6) a day or EUR 1,095 (GBP 937) a year.
With concessions available for young people, seniors and people with disabilities, more than 245,000 Austrians have already purchased a ticket.
Gewessler said in a statement obtained by Newsflash in December 2022: “The KlimaTicket is a great success.
“A little over a year of the KlimaTicket shows that people in Austria want to travel in a climate-friendly manner and are ready to switch to public transport.
“The important thing is public transport that is convenient and cheap.
“Public transport saves energy, is good for the wallet and protects our climate.”
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Story By: Georgina Jadikovska, Sub-Editor: Marija Stojkoska, Agency: Newsflash
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