Speaking at the 2019 Hungarian Tourism Agency – Tourism Summit, Orbán declared that with Hungary now neck and neck with the Czech Republic it was time to “start the siege” on Vienna and Austria. Since 2010, the Hungarian government has invested HUF 800 billion into the tourist sector, leading to a doubling of the number of guests and overnight stays. Presently, there are some 1,000 tourism projects in development.
The PM mentioned a number of factors that have helped the tourism industry, including lower travel costs, a preference for taking shorter trips more frequently, and a younger generation that increasingly chooses to travel and see the world over settling down or purchasing material items. Orbán also noted the increase in interest in Hungary from tourists coming from Asia.
Ease of access to Budapest has helped spur growth in the number of visitors to Hungary as well and has been a priority for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The number of cities with direct flights to the Hungarian capital has increased from 86 to 147 in the past five years.
Despite some concerns over a slowing economy hitting the tourist sector, the Hungarian prime minister said that “the government is behind the development of tourism” and will continue its goal of making Budapest a key center for sports, gastronomy, and conferences.
Zoltán Guller, CEO of the Hungarian Tourism Agency, announced some impressive figures at the summit: 2018 growth in accommodation revenues exceeded the global average, the increase in the number of tourists to Hungary was twice the EU average, Budapest hotels hit almost 80% room occupancy, and the hospitality sector overall saw a growth of 38% in its after-tax sales.
Guller also announced the upcoming design of new boats for the Danube River and Lake Balaton as well as a sensational fireworks show to take place in Budapest in summer 2020.