Budapest » Tourism Figures Good
Tourism Figures Good
By Alex Kahu
ACCORDING to recent data from the Central Statistical Office (KSH), 7.2 million foreign visitors arrived in Hungary in the first quarter of 2006, 76% of whom spent only one day in the country, with only 24% staying overnight. Compared with the same period of 2005, there was a nearly 20% increase in the number of one-day stays, but the number of stays exceeding three days decreased by eight percentage points, adding up to a 7% decrease of the total time spent in Hungary at 16.4 million guest-days.
The "shortening" of visits abroad is an international trend, Dr Gábor Galla, CEO of Hungary Tourism Zrt, told The Budapest Sun.
More people are taking shorter holidays several times a year, including one-day or "long-weekend" trips, instead of one long summer holiday, he explained. People coming on one-day visits for shopping purposes also contribute to the revenues of the national economy, so there is no reason to be concerned, he said. He added that there are two types of statistics: the above mentioned figures are based on asking foreigners, many of whom come to visit relatives and stay with them, or in their own property.
"If we look at the other type of statistics, however, which are based on data provided by commercial accommodation facilities, we can see an increase of guest nights spent in Hungary," Galla said.
Last year, the number of guest nights spent by foreigners in Hungary increased by 3%, while Hungarians spent 8% more in commercial accommodation than a year before.
The average of 5% increase added up to a total of 19.5 million guest nights spent in 2005.
Hungary Tourism Zrt said it has been working hard on convincing short-stay visitors to spend more time in Hungary.
The 150 Tourinform offices provide information about programs and attractions to make transit visitors change their mind and spend more time in the country.
Hungarian representation in Romania has been successful in increasing the number of Romanian tourists passing through Hungary to their western European destinations who spend a night in Hungary instead of Austria, for instance, Galla said.
Hungary Tourism is now working out how radio programs, to be broadcast in German and English, could provide more information to foreign visitors about attractions and events to lure them to stay.
"At the moment, we have a promotion with Budapest hotels, offering a fourth night's stay free of charge, also aiming to prolong the stay of foreign visitors," Galla said.
Budapest is still the number one target for visitors: 39% of overnight guests chose the city in the beginning of the year, with the central and western Transdanubia regions being the next most popular.
Foreign visitors coming to Hungary spent a total of Ft156 billion ($762.8 million) in the first three months of the year.
The Budapest Sun, June 8, 2006