In an interview with a local newspaper, Zoltán Kovács, state secretary for International Communication and Relations, emphasized that the World of Hunting and Nature Exhibition is expecting hundreds of thousands of people in the autumn and also serves the economic and tourist reboot after the coronavirus epidemic.
The World of Hunting and Nature Exhibition is scheduled to take place from September 25 to October 14; however, the secretary of state said that all countries except Israel and Britain are currently living in a state of insecurity. Not just Hungarian events, but also world events such as the Tokyo Summer Olympics or the Dubai World Expo are in question. He stressed that the intention of the government is still to organize the hunting exhibition at Hungexpo and three rural locations in Keszthely, Hatvan and Vásárosnamény. Meanwhile, the government is organizing the Eucharistic Congress in Budapest for the beginning of September, an event that Pope Francis plans on attending. We also hope that the St. Stephen’s Day celebrations on August 20 can finally be held in the usual way this year, the state secretary added.
Kovacs confirmed that more than 50 countries have already applied to exhibit at the hunting expo. If travel conditions become easier by then, organizers expect one million visitors. This figure is based on the fact that FeHoVa (a smaller event focusing on professional fishermen and hunters) is usually visited by 60,000–70,000 people and usually takes place in an area that is half or one-third the size. The World of Hunting and Nature Exhibition is designed for the general public to attend as well.
The secretary of state confirmed that due to COVID-19, new protocols need to be developed, and a vaccination certificate might be required at the time of admission.
The renovation of Hungexpo has been going on for decades but is on schedule; the exhibition halls will be renewed and a reception building and new conference center will be added. It will be the largest such facility not only in Budapest and Hungary but all of Central Europe. Thus, Budapest can become a regional exhibition and conference center. The long-term renovation of Hungexpo will cost HUF 55 billion.
Kovacs stressed that they have reported on the costs of organizing the World Hunting Exhibition in a completely transparent way. At the end of last year, this was around HUF 10 billion, but the final amount might be around HUF 16.5–17 billion.
The hunting expo will fill 75,000 square feet of exhibition space with content for 20 days. In addition to the presentation of various trophies, organizers are planning programs on hunting history to present the Central European, Turkish, Arab, Russian, North American and South African traditions. Visitors will also be able to learn about related forestry and habitat conservation.
We want to provide species-conservation content to the public. Like it or not, hunting does play an important role in the sustainable management of our environment, Kovacs added.
Both the World of Hunting and Nature Exhibition and the 52nd International Eucharistic Congress require a very complex organizational task, and the best event organizers and the most experienced professionals are working on both, the state secretary said.