This year there is a chance for record summer traffic in domestic tourism: the number of pre-bookings in rural accommodation is growing week by week, almost one million guest nights have been booked for the summer months, the most, 1.1 million for July, the CEO of the NGO told Magyar Nemzet.
Zoltan Guller in Saturday’s edition panel explained in a published interview: “The domestic tourism has never been so busy, in fact 2020 was the best main season for the past thirty years, we have a chance to beat it this year.”
As he pointed out, according to the data, the accommodations in the Balaton region are the most popular, followed by Mátra-Bükk, Debrecen and its surroundings (Hajdúszoboszló, Hortobágy, and Lake Tisza), and the surroundings of Budapest.
Of course being so close to Budapest Lake Balaton is the obvious first choice for Budapest residents, but since Balaton is always fully booked for the summer, many will look to vacation elsewhere, further afield in Hungary. Indeed because of its variety, and being the country’s second biggest city, Debrecen is an obvious choice, and Lake Tisza an obvious alternative to Lake Balaton. Indeed, Lake Tisza is much closer to Debrecen than Lake Balaton is to Budapest.
He put it this way, “Lake Balaton is full in the summer months, it doesn’t even need advertising”, – referring to ordinary times, however the inability to travel overseas, means that this year there will be extraordinary demand domestically.
Although there are tourism developments underway around Lake Balaton, there is a lack of capacity, indeed for 2021 there is little to no chance that accommodation availability can meet the domestic demand.
“We are supporting the spread of electric boating, more hotels are being built, many beaches are being renovated and we will be launching a new ferry next spring,” he said. He emphasized that the goal is to make Lake Balaton and its surroundings a “European, environmentally friendly” resort.
Debrecen has also been undergoing improvements with the new Aquaticum Strand Waterpark opening in 2020 and the renovation of various sights throughout the city.
The CEO also pointed out that due to the lack of foreigners, the situation in Budapest will be even less favorable. According to him, this can be helped if Hungarian travelers should consider the capital as a possible destination. However, inevitably, the vast majority living in Budapest, will want to get away from their home city environment after being in lockdown there for the last year.
He also noted that the agency is also launching international campaigns to plan foreign travelers with Hungary before the borders are opened. Recently, the V4 countries also agreed to prepare a joint attraction campaign to direct foreigners to the tourist offer of the Visegrád region, he pointed out.
The expert also talked about state subsidies, which “since the outbreak of the epidemic, i.e. in the spring of 2020, it has exceeded two billion euros in tourism, which is also exemplary internationally. The measures include essentially the full spectrum of assistance: wage subsidies, contribution rebates, credit moratorium, zero-interest loan program, suspension of tourist tax and tourism development contribution paid by companies, exemption of terrace fees, 5% VAT on home delivery, and SZÉP card discount.
Guller stressed, “Opening the terraces was a historic step: it’s great to see the streets and squares come to life again. Those with protection can already use the interiors of restaurants, hotels, theaters, cinemas, swimming pools, gyms and fitness rooms. We are on our way to a normal life. Now the real help is getting started, because if there are guests, everything is there”, he said.