Visitor numbers at Hungarian palaces and castles came close to 315,000 last year, a new record, Tamás Glázer, who heads the National Heritage Protection and Development Nonprofit (NOF), told MTI on Friday.
Around three-fourths of palaces and castles remained open last year, Glázer said. He added that five opened their gates to the public for the first time during the year.
One of those venues, the Esterházy Palace in Tata, in northwestern Hungary, was the most popular palace or castle last year, drawing about 55,000 visitors.
This year, another ten renovated palaces and castles will open to the public, Glázer said.
Hungarian palaces and castles drew over 213,000 visitors in 2019. The number fell to around 141,000 in 2020, when pandemic restrictions were in place.
Meanwhile, MTI reported that Hungary’s cash-flow-based budget deficit, excluding local councils, was 5,101.5 billion forints (EUR 14.3bn) at the end of December, the finance ministry confirmed in a detailed reading of data on Friday. The deficit swelled by 1,170.2 billion in December alone. The central budget shortfall amounted to 4,662.3 billion forints at the end of December, while social insurance funds were 419.4 billion in the red and separate state funds posted a 19.8 billion shortfall.
Fully 4,117.7 billion forints were paid for pensions in 2021 as the annual pension bonus was relaunched and other top-ups handed out. Other big spending included 237.4 billion for road developments, 211.3 billion for the Hungarian Villages Programme and 200.6 billion for transport schemes.
Among other spending priorities, 1,880 billion forints was spent on preventive health care, while a multi-year salary expansion for doctors was launched, the ministry said. The government decided in December to set aside 350 billion forints in reserves, it noted, adding that it appeared that the public debt ratio and ESA deficit “may have been reduced while sufficient reserves were set aside”.