Although the Russian-Ukrainian war only began at the end of February, it is already clear that Hungarian tourism will be fundamentally affected by it.
“The sanctions against Russia and the war events are now severely affecting tourism service providers and different countries,”
Richárd Róbert Kiss, a tourism expert and the editor-in-chief of InfoRadio told Index. After all, Russian tourists with serious spending power have been arriving in greater and greater numbers in the European Union’s major cities over the past ten years.
“Budapest and Hungarian spa towns could already feel the lack of Russian tourists in the spring,”
Russian tourism expert Andrea Szegedi said. She added that travel agencies could also face serious losses if they have to refund the prices of their bookings to Russian tourists.
For instance, tourism in Hévíz is losing a lot because of the war, as RTL Klub, and then Portfolio.hu, reported. Ten thousand guests cancelled their reservations in the last few days. According to Portfolio.hu, the situation has hit tourism in Hévíz particularly hard, as Russian and Ukrainian visitors accounted for a quarter of foreign turnover.
Earlier this week, Portfolio.hu wrote that tourists from Russia and Ukraine have virtually disappeared from Hungary, however, not only from these two countries but also from many others. Many people are afraid to come to Hungary because of the war in the neighbouring country.
“We should not stop at Hévíz, but also Sárvár, Hajdúszoboszló, Miskolc, Harkány, and I could go on listing the cities that have entered the Russian tourism market,”
said Andrea Szegedi. She added that the significantly increased number of Russian tourists is the result of a long and conscious work, which will change in the current situation, as we can read in Index’s article.
She said that we in Hungary had a very good market position, as we were one of the few European countries that allowed Russian tourists in with minimal or almost no restrictions.
By that, she meant that Russian tourists were not subject to quarantine with proper vaccination and that air traffic between the two countries was restored in a short time.
Travel agencies are already feeling the indirect effects of the war. Bookings have slowed down, but cancellations are still on hold because it would be a huge blow if the travel agencies had to pay that money back. The question is, how long the war, on which the future of many Hungarian travel agencies depends, will last.
Source: Index, Portfolio