Seoul, lying on the banks of the Han River, is a truly cosmopolitan city. With a population of around ten million, the capital is not only a major tourist destination, but also a thriving economic center. As a result of the Hungarian government’s investment policy in the automotive industry, many South Korean companies are active in Hungary, and the traffic volume of other electronic goods is also significant. The flight is also expected to be popular with leisure travelers: Seoul is home to five World Heritage Sites, which include both built and natural heritage.
Budapest is also becoming increasingly popular with South Korean tourists, with four times as many South Korean visitors arriving in January-May 2022 as in the same period last year, and the number of guest nights growing by 87%.
Minister of foreign affairs and trade Péter Szijjártó highlighted that the launch of the flight is expected to boost tourist traffic significantly, after 22,000 South Korean visitors spent more than 100,000 guest nights in Hungary this year. The minister pointed out that in 2019 and 2021, South Korea was the largest source of investment in Hungary. “Today, when we are in another dark period of the global economy, predictable, reliable partnerships and large-scale investments that create many jobs are of particular importance,” he emphasized. He added: “We are also certain that by the relationship between the two countries becoming physically much closer and easier, we will be able to write another chapter in the success story of Hungarian-Korean economic cooperation.”
Mr. Park Jeong Soo, managing vice president and head of passenger network said: “We had considered Budapest as an attractive destination even before the pandemic. Korean Air’s inaugural flight to Budapest will allow our customers to experience and appreciate the city’s beautiful nature and diverse attractions. With many Korean automobile manufacturers located in the area due to the Hungarian government’s investment policy, we also expect to attract business demand. Korean Air will continue to foster Budapest as a strategic destination in Eastern Europe, and will closely cooperate with the Hungarian Government and Budapest Airport to vitalize the Incheon-Budapest route.”
“We are delighted to once again celebrate the launch of a new long haul flight after two years, and to welcome such an important connection, courtesy of Korean Air,” emphasized Chris Dinsdale, the CEO of Budapest Airport. He added: “The new flight to Seoul is of particular importance for the Hungarian economy and tourism. Between January and May 2022, four times as many South Korean guests visited us as in the same period last year, and the number of guest nights increased by 87 percent. I am confident that with up to 2000 seats available between Budapest and Incheon Airport, we will be able to further strengthen the fruitful relationship between South Korea and Hungary.”
The cooperation between Budapest Airport and Korean Air is not new; the carrier has operated nearly 300 dedicated cargo flights between Budapest and Seoul since February 2020. This connection has now been complemented by a passenger flight. Besides Korean Air, LOT Polish Airlines also operates scheduled services to South Korea’s largest city, with the two carriers now offering more than 2000 seats per week between Seoul and Budapest.