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Photo: Daily News Hungary

Viktor Orbán emphasised the need for a model change at a conference on Wednesday. He believes that Budapest will not be competitive with the 10% domestic tourism ratio and stressed that he was waiting for proposals from trade unions.

At a conference titled “Hungary is Restarting!”, Viktor Orbán said that looking at the business models of the greatest capitals of tourism, Paris or Rome, it is clear that although the number of foreigners is higher there, there is a more promising proportion of foreign and domestic tourists.

90 per cent of Budapest’s tourism is based on foreigners and only 10 per cent on Hungarians.

In his opinion, this ratio will not be able to compete. He emphasised that there would be no return to an international trend in which any major city that wants to make money from tourism can afford to “neglect its own citizens”. According to Viktor Orbán, Budapest must also build touristic capabilities that can be utilised by rural Hungarians. This will require a change in the tourism business model, he said. He added that he hopes the Budapest Chamber or the professional organisations in charge of this issue will contact the government with their proposals, wrote

“The pandemic has kicked an industry to the curb that two years ago grew twice as fast as the GDP, and in January and February last year, this rate was four times as fast. The sector that provided the livelihood of hundreds and thousands of people, made up more than 10 per cent of the GDP, and was able to grow at a rate that exceeded both the European and world averages took an enormous hit,”

Zoltán Guller, CEO of the Hungarian Tourism Agency, began his presentation.

Turizmus Online previously wrote about the fact that professionals well-acquainted with the structure of the domestic and international markets and its dynamism do not believe in the government’s idea that domestic tourism could lure people away from going abroad.

Csaba Faix, the CEO of Budapest Brand Nonprofit Zrt., emphasised that it was not realistic to expect that domestic tourists would be able to make up for the loss of foreign tourists. At the same time, according to the expert, the dependency on foreign tourists has made the industry realise that it would be important for the foreign-domestic tourism ratio to change in the capital slightly in favour of the latter.

Csaba Baldauf, the Vice-President of the Association of Hungarian Hotels and Restaurants (MSZÉSZ), previously talked to Magyar Nemzet about the pandemic. He said that there had been no significant inbound traffic in Budapest for a year, but since domestic revenue was not significant before, this is not expected to change in the future either.

“With the new strategy coordinated with the countryside, the proportion of domestic tourism will be able to strengthen somewhat in the capital, but as in other European capitals, the proportions will not change significantly in Hungary either,”

says the Vice-President of MSZÉSZ.

Other European capitals are not able to bring about a major structural change in the ratio of domestic to foreign tourists either. Viktor Orbán cited examples such as France and Italy, which are vast states with domestic flights. In Hungary, even the longest distances can usually be completed in one day. Not to mention that domestic guests and families cannot afford the price of 4-5-star Budapest hotels tailored to the international wage level and the wallets of foreign guests who require that luxury.

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