(MTI) – Hungary’s tourism had record-high results in 2013, which contributed to the country’s economic growth, Prime Minister Viktor Orban said in Siofok on Monday.
Following a meeting with hotel managers in the Lake Balaton area, Orban said that last year 8.8 million tourists spent a total 22.8 million guest nights in Hungary, paying a total 166 billion forints (EUR 638m) for accommodation.
“Considering that we are part of a region – the European continent – which undergoes a serious economic crisis, the sector’s performance is more than remarkable,” Orban said. Tourism greatly contributed to Hungary’s growing economy after its contraction in 2012, he added.
Tourism accounts for some 9.9 percent of Hungary’s GDP, and a one-percent growth is a realistic objective for the next four years, Orban said.
On another subject, Orban said that the government’s Szechenyi card programme, a scheme of providing luncheon, recreation and holiday vouchers introduced in 2011, has been a success involving 23,000 participating employers and 920,000 employees benefitting from it. Last summer alone, 544,000 SZEP cards were used to pay for accommodation or sports facilities for their owners and family members, altogether about one million Hungarians, Orban said.
In the 2007-2013 budgeting period Hungary received 290 billion forints (EUR 932m) in European Union funds to finance 1,132 tourism projects, Orban said. He added that the government expected another 250-300 billion forints for the same purpose in the current cycle.