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The tourism and travel industry directly contributes to 5% of Hungary’s GDP and is fuelled by the attractiveness of its capital, Budapest. Its ski resorts are also an asset for the country, as well as seaside ones such as Lake Balaton, nicknamed the Hungarian Sea, which is a famous destination for domestic and European clientele during the summer. Hungary is mainly a leisure destination: more than 80% of visitors to the country are leisure guests. This leads to a seasonal activity characterized by a peak season in the summer, between April and September.
As in most countries in the region, new tourist trends related to wellness, spa and health activities should expand in Hungary in the years to come. The wellness and health tourism accounts for 13% of international arrivals, and the government intends to establish 5 to 8 additional resorts by the end of 2024.
More than 20 million nights were spent in merchant accommodation in 2015. International clienteles generate the largest share of hotel overnights (52.3% of the total), even though domestic demand is currently growing. It must be noted that International arrivals to Hungary increased by 30% from 2007 to 2015. Even though the overnights generated by German visitors, the country’s first source market, dropped by 25% between 2007 and 2015, Chinese overnights tripled over the same period. This trend is bound to keep going in 2017 and led Chinese and Hungarian authorities to officialise their collaboration by opening a tourism coordination centre connecting China and Eastern European countries in Budapest.
Hungary tourists are thus diversifying, particularly through extra-European markets. Long-haul source markets now generate about 10% of overnights in Hungary, including 4.5% from Asia and 2.9% from North America.
However, traditional feeder markets from Western Europe are not out of step: arrivals of British and Italian citizens’ rose by 37% and 34% respectively between 2007 and 2015. Authorities also designed a program to deal with seasonality and invite tourists to visit Budapest between November and April. These measures illustrate the dynamism of the Hungarian tourist policy, supporting the destination’s competitiveness.
As of January 1, 2017, Hungary’s global room supply has 75,115 rooms.