The latest border closure measures put most Budapest-based tourist guides and hotels in an impossible situation, and there is no news about the Hungarian government providing any kind of support to these vulnerable groups.
The Hungarian government’s recent restrictive measures to fight the pandemic were just another painful blow to local tourism, especially in the capital city that in 90% relies on tourists from other countries.
As Tamás Flesch, head of the Hungarian Hotel & Restaurant Association, says in this article by Portfolio, even though tourism did have a strong performance in July and August, this is relatively true of the countryside than Budapest;
even if there were some revenues, no hotel in the capital city could reach the break-even point in the 2020 summer period.
These establishments are now expecting support from the Hungarian government before they have to lose most of their employees, says Flesch.
And tourist guides are in no better position. According to Portfolio, up to 5,000 tourist guides are at risk of losing their job due to the government’s restrictive measures on inbound travel – and 90% of these professionals are based in Budapest. Besides, most tour operators prefer to employ retired tourist guides – provided there is any job at all –, as “they do not have to pay taxes after them”.
Most tourist guides are independent contractors but still have not received any support from the state, contrary to several other groups of contractors since the outbreak of COVID-19. As Éva Caesar, head of Association of Hungarian Tourist Guides says, these people are either unemployed by now, living off benefits or their own savings, or quit their job to work in different positions such as language teachers.