Over the past few years, the catering and tourism industry has suffered quite a lot due to the coronavirus pandemic, as well as the negative effects of the war currently going on in Hungary’s neighbouring country.
Világgazdaság writes that while interest in and attendance of customers in the historic baths of Budapest is quite high, they still could not reach as much profit as before the pandemic, due to the increased costs of maintenance and operation, but they cannot increase ticket prices off season.
The news outlet reported that ticket prices in Hungarian baths and beaches might be significantly increased in July, but many establishments plan on offering special seasonal tickets for their domestic customers to ensure their visitor numbers would not decline considerably.
According to Világgazdaság, the sudden increase of energy prices affects almost every facet of everyday life, and this, combined with the higher costs of employment, means a significant increase in cost of operation. However, Budapest Spas Plc, a company that collectively owns all baths and thermal water in Budapest, cannot increase prices as it is owned by the local government.
These baths are currently offering their services for last year’s prices, which creates a budget deficit of a total of 750 million forints (€1.97 million) for the company, Vg reports.
Ildikó Szűts, the CEO of Budapest Spas Plc, told Telex that electricity prices have increased 235%, and gas prices went up 273% since last year. Additionally, spas had to increase wages by a minimum of 16.7%, but in professions where employees are scarce to come by, this increase was 20%.
Világgazdaság also added that there is a 40% labour shortage in the tourism sector due to the fact that many people who have lost their jobs during the pandemic do not want to return to the catering and service industry. This in turn results in companies needing to spend more on their existing employees since replacing them is quite difficult.
Despite current hardships, it seems that the tourism sector in Hungary could get back on its feet, as Telex reported that in the first quarter of 2022, the attendance of Budapest baths increased, and their income increased from 2.025 billion forints (€5.33 million) to 2.724 billion forints (€7.2 million).
This growth was due to the fact that 836,000 people visited their spas and baths, which is more than 300,000 more than they expected.
However, due to the war between Ukraine and Russia, several baths have lost a lot of their customers. 64% fewer Russian and 42% fewer Ukrainian tourists have purchased tickets in historical baths. It is unknown how long this effect will remain.
Source: vg.hu, telex.hu