Business infrastructure

Hungary launches zero percent loan for SMEs in tourism

The government’s new scheme will help companies get a free-use loan with zero-percent interest.

The new credit scheme of the Széchenyi Tourism Card Program is available only for micro, small and medium-sized enterprises operating in the tourism sector.

According to Zoltán Guller, the CEO of the Hungarian Tourism Agency, the Széchenyi Tourist Card is a long-awaited product backed by professional consensus.

With the help of the Széchenyi Tourist Card, SMEs operating in tourism can get a free-use loan with zero-percent interest rates. The credit line of the new scheme will be HUF 100 billion, with businesses able to claim their needed amount — no more than HUF 250 million — from commercial banks, the CEO said.

Hungarian tourism and hospitality is a dynamically developing sector but has taken a hit due to the coronavirus epidemic, he added. Last year, it accounted for 13 percent of the country’s gross domestic product and currently employs 400,000 people.

Guller credited the government with reacting quickly to the virus situation, citing tax and contribution cuts as examples of measures that have helped the sector stay afloat. He recalled that as the economy began to reopen, domestic tourism started up again as well, and more Hungarians ended up taking their vacations in Hungary this past June than in the same period last year. 

The Széchenyi Tourist Card is financed by the Magyar Nemzeti Bank with the help of the Growth Loan Program (NHP) “Hajrá!” (Let’s go!). 

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