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Dec 30, 2019 - Zoltán Kovács

2019 Year in Review: Hungary’s tourism industry had a booming year

Hungary’s tourism sector enjoyed a record-breaking year in 2018. And 2019 is not showing any signs of letting up. Hungary’s tourism industry is rockin’.

At the beginning of the year, Budapest was voted the best European destination in 2019. Thousands of travelers from all over the world selected Hungary’s capital as the first destination on their travel bucket list.

With this growing popularity, tourism now accounts for 10.7 percent of Hungary’s GDP and the government aims to increase that share to 16 percent by 2022. To stimulate that growth, the government has pursued several priorities, including domestic investment and development, improvement of infrastructure, cross-border tourism marketing cooperation with the Visegrád countries and new websites promoting the wonders of the Carpathian Basin.

The efforts have born fruit, as we can see record numbers everywhere. Budapest spas, for example, had a record 980,000 visitors in the first three months of the year, a jump of more than seven percent compared to the same period in 2018.

Official figures released by the Central Statistical Office also show that the Hungarian tourism sector is “enjoying a golden age,” as the number of guest nights spent by foreigners was up 2.3 percent to 2,089,000 in August.

Budapest closed the year on another high point: voters in this year’s European Best Destinations competition selected Budapest’s Christmas market as the most beautiful in Europe – ahead of Vienna, Brussels, Prague and others. Of course, this is not the only reason that tourists are flocking to the Hungarian capital. Every few days, we see a new wave of foreign tourists arriving to Budapest to experience the city, sample its cuisine and support the Hungarian economy with some holiday shopping, resulting in fully booked hotels in the capital.

The year 2019 was indeed an exceptional year for tourism, and we’re proud that the world has noticed the great things Hungary has to offer. “The more we love our country, the more interested the world will be in us,” said Prime Minister Orbán at a tourism conference in Budapest in October. “This way, our love for our country will also be expressed in terms of guest nights, jobs, rising wages and rising profits.”

We look forward to more of the same in 2020.

Photo credit: Spice of Europe