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Szép card spending on domestic tourism hits HUF 14 bln

In Hungary

móni lázár

During the first two months of summer, Hungarians spent more than HUF 14 bln on tourism through Hungary’s national voucher Széchenyi Card Program (SZÉP card), which constitutes a 12% rise in year-on-year terms, a press release said today.

(Photo: Moni Lazar)

The SZÉP card (pictured above) is a tax-free benefit that employers can give their employees. The employer puts a cash value on the card each month, and cardholders can use the card to make purchases at businesses in the tourism industry. One purpose of the card is to support and encourage local tourism among Hungarians.

SZÉP card holders spent approximately HUF 36 bln this year, with 40% of that amount being spent in the last two months, the press release noted. Hungary’s OTP Group, the issuer of the card, expects total expenditures through SZÉP cards to exceed HUF 20 bln in the summer season, making the card one of the most important income sources for domestic tourism.

“It is important and positive feedback for us that SZÉP card usage increases in the summer season, as this is a message for us that the majority of cardholders use their money on SZÉP cards consciously,” András Kuhárszki of OTP Bank said. He added that he believes these figures prove that “SZÉP card is filling its role as the engine of domestic tourism.”

However, in the beginning of June it was reported that the National Economy Ministry is considering modifications to SZÉP cards, as Hungarian hotels are lobbying for restrictions on the types of catering establishments where the card may be used. 

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