The managing director of Hungary’s tourism agency (MTÜ) has said that the country remains a top destination, attributing its record of safety as a reason that visitors are drawn here.
Zoltán Guller told a news conference that guest nights had grown by 50% since 2010, amounting to 30 million last year. He added that commercial accommodation revenue increased by 112% compared with seven years earlier. Wellness resorts and spas were the most popular draws, with wellness hotels accounting for 42% of money spent on accommodations. The number of tourists spending time in Hungary to be pampered grew by 91% in the first nine months of the year compared with the same period in 2010, and over 131% more money was spent.
Tourists from abroad similarly came in greater numbers, having grown by 160% in seven years, based on estimates of last year’s data. Guller argued that state and local government investments were key in making Hungary a more attractive destination, and he noted that the success of a scheme to subsidise bed and breakfast developments, with grants of 21 billion forints (€67 million) overall for over 600 B-and-Bs.
Hungary’s attractiveness from a safety perspective was confirmed by the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) as well. In July of last year, the UK’s foreign ministry released an information brochure for holidaymakers in which they named Hungary to be among world’s top 10 safe and secure travel destinations. In the report, Hungary was ranked ninth as a European country that “offers stunning countryside” as well as “historic cities such as Budapest” that are “full of architectural beauty” and “buzzing bars.”
One year ago, Zoltán Guller declared that government’s goal was to double income and to turn Hungary into one of the top five European tourist destinations within two years. To this end, they are still planning major developments which will include upgrades of 48 beaches at Lake Balaton, facilities around Lake Fertő in the west, and wine routes in the Sopron and Tokaj Hegyalja wine regions, among others.
Alongside this progress, the growing tourism industry has generated issues to solve as well. On February 18th, Budapest’s 7th district is set to hold a local referendum on the opening hours of pubs and other venues. The so-called party district attracts a lot of youngsters from mostly Western Europe, and naturally generates huge amounts of income for the city. District locals, however, have repeatedly complained about the noise, rubbish and behaviour of party-goers. Thus, even though it is unlikely that the vote results will be in favour of the early closing times, the district and city will most likely have to find a solution to this conflict in the near future.
image via hajozas.hu