Budapest, February 11 (MTI) – Hungary’s tourism industry had its best year ever in 2016 and projects similar results for this year, head of the Hungarian Tourism Agency Zoltán Guller said in Budapest on Saturday.
Commenting on figures released by the Central Statistical Office (KSH) on Friday, Guller noted that the number of guest nights rose 7.0 percent last year as total revenue of commercial accommodations was up 9.1 percent, with revenue from room fees climbing 11.1 percent.
The number of tourist arrivals in Hungary increased by 7.1 percent last year, more than the European average of 2.0 percent or the global average of 3.9 percent, according to data from the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), Guller said. The pace of growth seen in Hungary exceeded that of the main rivals, Austria and the Czech Republic.
In order to make Hungary one of the top five European tourist destinations in two years and to double spending by foreign tourists, several developments are planned or have already been started including upgrades of 48 lakeside beaches at Lake Balaton for about 1.86 billion forints (EUR 6m), and replacing the pleasure boats on the lake with electric ones.
There will be wine routes built in the region of Sopron (W Hungary), the Széchenyi Palace in the nearby Nagycenk will be renovated, and 23 billion forints will be spent on developing tourism facilities around Lake Fertő (Neusiedler See), the lake straddling the border with Austria. In the northern part of the country, more than 90 billion forints will be spent on developments in the Tokaj-Hegyalja region, where the 700-metre glass bridge of Sátoraljaújhely will be the longest structure of its kind in the world, Guller said.
2017 will be the year of sport tourism, Guller said, noting that 5,500 rooms have already been booked at 31 hotels in Budapest and 3 in Balatonfüred by visitors arriving to important sports events.
The agency is also making efforts to strengthen domestic tourism and to attract foreign visitors to other parts of the country in addition to the capital, Guller said.