The Hungarian Walking Association (Magyar Sétaszövetség) conducted a survey amongst people participating in thematic city walks. The positive results suggest 2021 can be the year of walking in Budapest.
1100 people that previously attended walks of organisations such as Hosszúlépés. Járunk? and Imagine Budapest participated in the survey conducted between 14 and 16 December, 2020. Similarly to other cultural sectors, the majority of the audience of the city walks are female; only one fifth is male. Their average age is 51. 86 % of them have a degree or PhD – turizmus.com says.
As the Hungarian Tourism Agency published: more than 90 % live in Budapest or its agglomeration so they are curious about their own city at the city walks. Almost all of them visit cultural events regularly; the year before the pandemic 82 % went to theatre, 76 % to museum, 72 % to cinema, and 44 % to classical music concert. Last year, their culture related expenses were on average 112 400 HUF (311.7 EUR), while this year, they were planning to spend 7.6 % more, 121 000 HUF (335.6 EUR). Only 5 % managed to do this, and 83 % are planning to spend it on quality cultural events later.
82 % of them were the happiest about the clearing air in the spring, amongst the changing conditions. 47 % chose walking as a form of transport more often and 45 % spent more time in nature. The most popular walking destinations were Margaret Island, the Castle District, and the Gellért Hill. 81 % would like the clean air to remain, 60 % the home office, and 45 % the closed lower quay to traffic.
Four fifths would welcome the same amount of tourists in Budapest as before the pandemic – even though overtourism is a recurring problem on professional forums.
At the same time, tourism in the capital suffered significantly in 2020.
As opposed to other cultural actors in 2020, organisations of the Hungarian Walking Association: BudaStep, Hosszúlépés. Járunk? and Imagine Budapest decided not to move to the online space but to prepare for the restart. 95 % of the survey participants agreed that the city walks could only work in person. Even though 66 % participated in online cultural events this year, they failed to meet their expectations. Only 14 % think that online events substituted in-person events properly, and only 27 % were engaged in them. Only 7 % think online events offered a fulfilling social experience.
98.7 % would like to take part in cultural events immediately after they will be allowed, and 78 % of the participants feel safe on the outdoor events, and city walks are considered to be the safest cultural events.
Seeing the positive feedback, the organisations of the Hungarian Walking Association will restart city walks as soon as the restrictions ease. 52 % already gifted city walk coupons for Christmas. As the audience of city walks kept growing, the association also expects 2021 to be the year of walking in Budapest.