Hungarian public transport and tourism companies have taken steps to ensure the safety of passengers during their travels amid the epidemic, Gergely Gulyás, the head of the Prime Minister’s Office, told a press conference on Monday, adding that discipline shown by private individuals was essential.
Gulyás spoke at an event showcasing the “Travel with us in safety” campaign of the Hungarian Tourism Agency (MTÜ), railway company MÁV, bus company Volánbusz and oil and gas company MOL calling on Hungarians to spend their holidays in the country.
Tourism in Hungary “essentially came to a standstill” in the spring,
Gulyás noted. In April, 99 percent of foreign travellers stayed away, and domestic tourism fell to 5 percent, he said. Those working in tourism and related sectors have suffered serious losses of income, he said. Offsetting that loss requires cooperation in the coming months, he added.
MTÜ head Zoltán Guller said tourism in Hungary provided 13 percent of GDP and was the livelihood of 400,000 families and some 40,000 SMEs.
Foreigners bring some four billion euros more into the country than Hungarian travellers take abroad, he said.
The sector grew by 22 percent in Jan-Feb this year, promising “the strongest year of Hungarian tourism,” Guller said. That “success story” was interrupted by the virus, he said.
Tourism restarted in May, Guller said, with visitor numbers growing by 30 percent year on year in the past 21 days. Domestic tourism may even top last year’s figures, he said.
MÁV head Róbert Homolya said
trains and stations will be disinfected daily during the summer peak period, and face masks will be compulsory for staff and passengers.
On trains to Lake Balaton, only every second seat will be sold to observe social distancing, he said.