Zoltán Guller, CEO of the Hungarian Tourism Agency, said that there are around 50,000 restaurants in Hungary today. The experience shows that a restaurant can only be profitable if half of its customers are local. During COVID-19, restaurants that relied exclusively on foreign customers suffered, while those that relied on locals proved more resilient, he said.
He recalled that in recent months, several major gastronomic events have drawn attention to Hungary. In February, the Hungarian Tourism Agency held a joint event with the Michelin Guide, and at the end of March, the European final of the Bocuse d’Or cooking competition was held in Budapest, where the Hungarian team came in second. Next year, they will compete in the world final in Lyon.
In other tourism news, the World Expo in Dubai has just ended, where the Hungarian Pavilion, named Aqua Roots of Hungary, presented the water resources of Hungary, their formation and use, he said.
The International Association of World Expositions, with more than a million visitors from some 200 countries, awarded the pavilion a silver medal in the category of the best presented theme. Guller said that 40 Hungarian cultural events were organized at the expo with 700 Hungarian performers, and the most popular dish was goulash soup, of which 1,500 liters were consumed.
According to Guller, the first quarter was a good one. In January-March, the turnover of the hospitality sector amounted to slightly less than HUF 280 billion, which is double the growth of last year. So far, more than 400,000 bookings have been made for Easter, with interest from both domestic and foreign guests gradually increasing. The most popular destinations remain Lake Balaton and the capital.
In 2022, 36 million to 37 million overnight stays are expected, with almost 3.5 million already booked, the tourism agency CEO said, adding that a national average of at least 20 percent growth in traffic is expected, taking into account the consequences of the Russian-Ukrainian war.