At the general meeting of the Hungarian Baths Association in Debrecen, László Könnyid, the deputy director-general of the Hungarian Tourism Agency, reported that the sector was in an extraordinary situation.
In 2019, tourism contributed 13.5 percent to GDP and the sector employed 400,000 people. The 12 most important Hungarian spa settlements reached almost 7 million guest nights, while turnover at spas reached HUF 70 billion and the number of employees was 16-18,000.
In recent years, there have been many tourism developments all over the country, including the development of beaches, new slides, renewal of tourist info points and investments in Bahart (boat transport around Lake Balaton). Furthermore, under the Kisfaludy program, 14,000 private accommodations are being developed.
The government has also provided outstanding assistance to the tourism sector during the epidemic, including tax and contribution cuts, a credit moratorium, and an increase to the limit of SZÉP card top-ups, as well as launching job-retention loans and the Széchenyi Tourist Card.
The deputy director emphasized that the review of the National Tourism Development Strategy had begun, and the development of spas will be given priority in the next EU tender cycle of 2021-27. A comprehensive program with a significant budget is set to be launched, with applications available for both energy and service development.
“We have a difficult period ahead of us, but we believe that we will return to where we were last year in the foreseeable future,” he concluded.