According to daily Magyar Hírlap, bathing season kick-starts this weekend; spas expect further traffic growth based on last year’s success. Baths attract guests with new spectacles. All baths in Budapest introduce cash-free payment, meaning that from now on, credit cards and the spa’s own plastic cards are the way you can pay for services.
Holidays such as long weekends always result in traffic growth. Therefore baths foresee the near-future rather positively, as Ákos Hegyi, the Secretary General of the Hungarian Baths Association stated to Magyar Hírlap. The bathing season is right around the corner.
The Budapest Palatinus and Paskál are the first spas to open their open-air complexes on April 28,
then Csillaghegyi bath joins on May 26. The next day Római and on June 2 Pünkösdfürdői baths open their gates to guests. Palatinus, which is open throughout the year since 2017, wants to attract kids with a brand-new 1000 m2 playground, while Paskál surprises its visitors with a new 90 m2 pool outside, which operates throughout the year.
According to plans, Csillaghegyi bath will be reconstructed by the beginning of this summer; the seven-floor building will offer a swimming pool, a wellness centre, a restaurant with panorama and a water play zone.
The Hungarian Baths Association informs potential guests that paying with hard cash is no longer possible within any of the baths of Budapest. Cash-free payment means that for transactions within the spa, guests can only use credit cards or the spa’s own plastic card that is available at the main cash desk. Guests may also use their SZÉP (Széchenyi Recreation) cards if the place in question qualifies for taking it. However, you do not have to worry about returning the spa’s plastic card before leaving, as it can be used for five years in every spa operated by BGYH Zrt., or you can cash it in within this same time frame.
Last year went particularly well, summarises the Secretary General. According to him, the weather was at its best, the number of guests grew, and guests spent more money individually than in the last year. Besides that, it can be seen that local and nation-wide campaigns were efficient. Spa tickets sold like hotcakes; the traffic growth increased the profit of spas, all this happened despite the fact that prices remained almost unchanged. Moreover, maintenance costs skyrocketed.
Last year saw only one decreasing tendency, and it was in the field of therapeutic services, says Ákos Hegyi. There was a not so significant, 1-1.5 % decrease showing all across the country without respect to the size of the bath. The Secretary General pointed out that spas do not have an interest in offering therapeutic services, because the National Health Insurance Fund of Hungary (OEP) has not raised their financial resources in five years.
Almost 200 open-air baths are available in Hungary, and a lot of them start large-scale projects this year: Debrecen, Hajdúszoboszló, Harkány and Makó among others.
Hegyi thinks it is a big sign of development that more and more people are hired in the third sector, and more and more spas and thermal baths fit specific quality descriptions and purposes and get certificates about that from institutions both from within Hungary and internationally. Spas and thermal baths are aware that they have to introduce some new attractions every year to increase or even just keep the guests around. The Secretary General expects a lot from SZÉP cards, and he says it is good that Hungarian people will eventually consider bathing inside the country as well. He foresees this year as another opportunity for a boom, as salaries were increased, the unemployment rate is plummeting. Therefore tourism is likely to be flourishing, as guests can spend more money on travelling.
May Day is Pay Day for Tourism
Szallas.hu, one of the most popular websites for booking temporary accommodation within Hungary, announced that
the traffic of accommodation providers grows by 450% the up-coming weekend because of people having a four days long holiday thanks to May 1.
The site’s data show that the average website user spends HUF 44,978, and every fifth visitor pays with SZÉP card an average of HUF 71,764. Almost half of the users chose guesthouses and apartments, the rest of the bookings are mainly for boarding houses and 3- and 4-star hotels. Data reveal that guests spend two nights at their chosen place on average, the longest stay being eight days in a row. They usually book for three, but there was a particular case when a group of 56 booked their accommodation via the website. 40% of Szallas.hu members choose to spend their long weekend in either Borsod-Abaúj-Zemplén, Heves, Pest or Veszprém county.
Balatonfüred, Budapest, Hajdúszoboszló, Eger, Miskolctapolca, Pécs, Siófok, Szeged and Zalakaros are the most visited within Hungary, while Krakow, Rimetea and Zakopane are currently the most popular holiday destinations outside the country. The most beloved attractions include six baths: Hévíz Lake Bath, the Cave Bath in Miskolctapolca, Zalakaros Bath, Harkány Thermal Spa and Open-Air Bath (Harkányi Gyógy- és Strandfürdő), Kehida Termal and Demjén Thermal Lake.
translated by Éva Stölkler
Photo: Facebook – Palatinus