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New Tourism Database not to Include Personal Info, Says Agency Head

MTI-Hungary Today 2019.01.23.

Personal information about guests will not be collected and stored by the National Data Centre for Tourism (NTAK) and its database will only serve statistical purposes, daily Magyar Idők said on Wednesday citing the managing director of the Hungarian Tourism Agency (MTU) Zoltán Guller.

NTAK will be launched this year in line with amendments to the tourism law and opposition Democratic Coalition (DK) has presented a complaint with the European Commission, arguing that the government would use tourism data to monitor Hungarians and that travellers’ personal data would be misused. The human rights NGO Hungarian Civil Liberties Union has also qualified the new database as unacceptable.

Guller said the database would not collect any personal data about travellers as such data would not be relevant for tourism development purposes. Transition to the new system will not affect tourists, as information will be collected anonymously by NTAK in order to monitor the key tourism indicators, he added.

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Most commercial lodgings already run software to handle bookings but tourism data reporting is now paper-based and its digitalisation would help improve the sector’s competitiveness, he said. The new system starting this year will collect data from all over the country in real time, enabling the MTU to prepare projections about visitor numbers and launch more effective marketing campaigns, he added.

In addition to digitalisation, the government is willing to consider reducing the VAT on commercial lodging services, a move already made in the catering sector, he said. The new system is being developed based on international examples and will meet all European Union regulations and data protection rules, he added.

Initially hotels will be expected to register between June 1 and 30, followed by bed and breakfast businesses between September 1 and 30 and all other commercial lodgings including campsites between December 1 and 31.