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Tourism Restarting: “Balaton is full, no vacancies”

Dorottya Zalay 2021.06.18.

At the annual conference of Világgazdaság, experts in the tourism industry in Hungary ruminated on the restart of tourism following the pandemic, concluding that by 2023 the hospitality sector will possibly return to its pre-pandemic capacity.

The president of the Association of Hungarian Hotels and Restaurants, Tamás Flesch, seemed to be certain that domestic tourism will be strong this summer as well, while restaurant-owner Gianni Annoni warned about such optimism, noting that there were promising signs last year, too. Flesch added that there is, however, a big question mark regarding international tourism.

The Balaton is full, there are no vacancies”

said Zsolt Szári, Ministerial Commissioner of Balaton. While according to him, Lake Balaton has become a four-season destination, its capacity is highly limited due to the significant ecological footprint that the mass of tourists leave on the lake’s wildlife.

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This year, the top tourist destinations in Hungary include Hévíz, Eger, and Balatonfüred. The president of the hotel association highlighted that more and more people seek out opportunities of active rest, and noted the advantages of the SZÉP card which allows cardholders to spend a total of nearly HUF 160 billion (EUR 461.7 million).

In regard to the tourism of the capital, Tamás Flesch highlighted that the majority of those who live in the countryside tend to go home after a large sports event in Budapest, therefore there is a need for projects like Liget Budapest which can be joined to other events. The renovation of the Chain Bridge will also have a negative impact on the capital’s tourism, Gianni Annoni added.

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In terms of the difficulties that the sector is facing, Annoni mentioned the high rent, which is the reason why many restaurants cannot open, and Flesch added that finding personnel will soon be their biggest problem.

One thing that won’t change is the fact that people love to travel, Flesch highlighted, concluding that in the past year, the industry has learned that only those who can survive are the ones able to adapt to the circumstances.

Featured photo illustration by Mohai Balázs/MTI