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Could Hungary Be in Danger of Overtourism?

Fanni Kaszás 2018.11.27.

According to a report recently released by audit and advisory company KPMG, overtourism, which affects the quality of life of locals and endangers the natural values of the country, is not yet present in Hungary. However, KPMG warns that there are already signs of the phenomenon visible in the capital and preventative measures are advised.


Nowadays, several major European cities have continued to experience rapid growth in tourism numbers. Overtourism is the phrase which is used to describe destinations where hosts or guests, locals or visitors, feel that there are too many visitors and that the quality of life in the area or the quality of the experience has deteriorated unacceptably.

The head of the Tourism Advisory Department at KPMG, Dániel Indra, explained in a statement that there are already signs of overtourism in Hungary. Indra cited last year’s local referendum in Budapest’s seventh district–the so-called party district–on the opening hours of pubs and other venues as an example. He added that there are also numerous disgruntled locals living near Lake Balaton who are troubled by the level of tourism in the summer. Some of the contributing factors to overtourism are online bucket lists, short-term housing rentals such as Airbnb and low-cost flights.

One sign of excessive tourism is a lack of capacity in vital areas. According to Indra, a primary example of this is the Budapest Airport. Between 2013 and 2015 alone, traffic at the airport increased from 8.5 million passengers to 15 million.

Indra said the best antidote to overcrowded cities is the temporal and spatial distribution of visitors. In particular, the development of rural destinations and hotels is essential. On a positive note, in recent years, the number of guest nights spent outside the capital increased and matched Budapest’s numbers. Unfortunately, this is still not enough to prevent overtourism. However, sometime over the next few years, 100 to 200 room hotels will be built in Nyíregyháza, Zalaegerszeg, Szántód, Pannonhalma and Mátrafüred and medium-sized investments will take place in settlements such as Kisvárda, Mezőkövesd, Győr, Szentes, Szeged and Bük.

In September, statistical portal named Budapest the fifth touristically overcrowded city in Europe behind Barcelona, Amsterdam, Venice and Milan.