In the last 10 years, the state has spent HUF 60 billion on nature conservation purposes, helping to improve the condition of 300,000 hectares across the country.
Hungary is unique in that its state nature conservation system is very strong, with the operation of its 10 national park directorates covering the entire country.
Máriusz Révész, the government commissioner responsible for active Hungary, said that 150 tourist centers have been renovated since 2010, and 40 facilities are currently being renovated.
Meanwhile, focus is being placed on stargazing, with the 650-square-meter Bükk Star (“Bükki Csillagda”) observatory and astrotourism center expected to be completed by July 2021. At a cost of HUF 1.3 billion, it is expected to be the most modern and best-equipped observatory in the country and thus attract many visitors to the area.
András Rácz, State Secretary for the Environment at the Ministry of Agriculture stressed that the presentation of natural values is also a priority for national parks, in addition to the protection of animal habitats and species. Surveys show that 75 percent of those looking for leisure activities would like to combine their downtime with hiking, nature walks, some form of active recreation and an ecotourism experience, he added.
The director of the Bükk National Park Directorate, Mrs. Kálmánné Rónai, said that according to plans, the observatory will receive 37,000 visitors a year. She added that the 6.7-meter-diameter hemispherical dome that houses the center’s astronomical telescopes can accommodate 30 people and will feature Hungary’s largest-diameter telescope and a solar telescope. The astrotourism center will include a 50-person planetarium as well, with meteorites on display including an iron meteorite weighing 30 kilograms and a stone meteorite weighing 15 kilograms. Visitors will additionally be able to enjoy a 4-kilometer-long astronomical nature trail.
The director noted that the investment will be implemented in a protected natural area, free of light pollution, as the Bükk National Park was declared a stargazing park in 2017 by the International Dark-Sky Association, making for an exceptional night sky for stargazing.