Globoport.hu has recently made an interview with Bálint Erdei, president of The Association of Hungarian Travel Agents and Tour Operators (MUISZ), about the Association, how it has changed over the years, and what its goals are.
MUISZ was founded in 1974, over 40 years ago, with only seven, government owned travel agencies as its members. A lot has changed since then, and now the Association represents hundreds of agencies so far, most of them are Hungarian-owned small and medium-sized private operators. Although MUISZ and its responsibilities have changed over the years, Erdei said that their main goal is the protection of consumer interests and the representation of companies and undertakings.
To the question whether MIUSZ’ advices are part of the decision making process, Erdei answered that it does happen at times. The Association comments on different legislations that concern companies involved in tourism and they also take part in developing new regulations. In some cases, their advices are taken into considerations, but in some cases they are completely ignored.
Erdei emphasized that there would be many cases when the Association could offer its help and advice, as in the case of a big event or government investment touristic views could be interesting and relevant. MUISZ is also lobbying for funds for the touristic sector, and although it would be impossible for Budapest to receive all the EU funds, the majority of tourists still visit the capital the most.
To have a complete and working marketing strategy is also important, Erdei added. The Association is working on getting more money to be spent on the country’s and Budapest’s image, because, although it has significantly improved compared to previous year, Hungary has still countless rivals. MUISZ is working closely with the government and the Municipality of Budapest to promote the region, but it’s also part of an international organization and is present in negotiations with the European Commission.
Being a member of MUISZ is beneficial for both travel agencies and tourists: the association helps agencies through organising training events, study tours, and gives tax advices or international representations.
For tourists, an agency that is a member of MUISZ means that they are guaranteed to get a quality service. There are many new agencies on the internet that have no qualifications whatsoever, and tourists can pay a high price for stumbling into a fake company. 85% of Hungarian travel agencies are the members of MUISZ, and they encourage tourists to search for the Association’s logo, Erdei said.
The internet is a huge challenge for travel agencies, because tourists no longer feel the need to visit an office in person as such an amount of information and also many services are available on the net. However, an experienced travel agent can often give advices that cannot be found elsewhere. Erdei strongly believes that travel agencies will still be needed in the future, as planning a trip could take days or weeks, but an agent can do this in a couple of minutes.
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