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Hungary: 2014 bodes well for hoteliers

In the first 8 months of the year 2014, Hungary’s hotel activity posts the best increase in RevPAR in Europe, thanks in particular to its hosting of international events and a favorable domestic and European economic situation that allowed average daily rates to climb.

From January to August 2014, Hungary saw its occupancy rate increase by 2 points over the previous year, to reach 68.3% or a higher level than that of older tourist destinations such as Spain, Portugal and even the Czech Republic. Moreover, continuing the growth trend observed since 2010, the average daily rate increased by 7.8% in 2014, allowing the RevPAR to grow by 11.1% since the beginning of the year to reach 42.7€. This is the best growth rate in Europe compared to the other key hotel markets and it is driven by the capital of Budapest, the country's leading hotel market. The upscale segment is the engine for recovery with an occupancy rate higher than the national average by 3.7 points and faster growth in the RevPAR.

Summer was particularly profitable for Hungary's hotel business: as the country is primarily a leisure destination, arrivals are quite seasonal with a spike in activity between April and September. Budapest, the leading tourist destination in Hungary, welcomes clientele that are 80% leisure; its many cultural and tourist attractions make it a destination that is increasingly prized by European tourists. The country also has a few key destinations for leisure clientele, such as Lake Balaton, the biggest lake in Central Europe. Nicknamed the "Hungarian Sea" it offers a wide variety of water sports, it is a favorite destination in August for both Hungarian and European clientele.

In July and August 2014, the occupancy rate progressed by 3.7 and 3.4 points respectively, reaching more than 86% in August. The average daily rate was nonetheless the principal growth engine for the RevPAR, posting successive increases of 7.9% and then 11.1% during the two summer months. Nonetheless Hungary remains one of the most attractive destinations in Europe. With an average daily rate of 57.3€ in August, the country is far behind neighboring Austria (96€), but this year it is moving just ahead of both the Czech Republic, which posted an average daily rate higher than the previous year, and Poland. Driven by indicators on an uptrend, the RevPAR of Hungarian hotels shows double-digit growth in July (+12.9%) and in August (+15.6%) with respect to 2013, to reach more than 49€ in these two months.

This growth dynamic may be explained in particular by the hosting of international events in the capital of Budapest, such as the European Water Polo Championships in July and the Congress of the Federation of European Physiological Societies in August, and the traditional Sziget festival. As Hungary depends mostly on European tourists, it benefits from the overall context of a slow economic recovery on the Old Continent that once again incites Europeans to travel. Polish, Austrian and Russian clientele returned in full force at the beginning of summer. But the increase in arrivals at hotels is also a result of a return of domestic clientele thanks to the favorable domestic economic situation, and forecasted growth in the country's GDP by more than 2% for 2014.

Hungary's hotel industry could thus continue to obtain good results and end the year on a positive note with the European Women's Handball Championship in Hungary and Croatia in December 2014.

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