Hungary Launches HUF 15 bln Tourism Sector Support Program


National Economy Minister Márton Nagy on Tuesday announced the launch of a HUF 15 bln support program for the tourism sector, according to a report by state news wire MTI.

Nagy said HUF 13 bln would be earmarked for improvements to boost the competitiveness of catering establishments in areas of the country other than the capital. A further HUF 1 bln will go toward upgrading local Tourinform offices and HUF 1 bln will support a program promoting live performances of Gypsy music in cafes and restaurants, he added.

The contribution of the tourism sector, a strategic branch of the economy, is of "key importance" to GDP growth, he said.

Zoltán Guller, the head of the Hungarian Tourism Agency, said applicants for the HUF 13 bln in support could be awarded up to HUF 1 mln apiece. Between 35 and 40 of the Tourinform offices that operate around the country could share the HUF 1 bln in support, and the HUF 1 bln of live performances subsidies could go to around 500 musicians who play in 120-130 ensembles, he added.

Guller said guest nights had climbed 13% to 8.3 million in the year to mid-April from the same period a year earlier, while revenue of tourism accommodations had increased 18% to HUF 188 bln and turnover of catering establishments had risen 14% to HUF 480 bln.

Nagy said the number of guest nights had reached 41.8 million last year, beating the number in 2019, the year before the pandemic. The Szép voucher card was an "engine of domestic tourism" with spending by cardholders reaching HUF 449 bln, up from HUF 385 bln in 2022, he added.

This year, the number of guest nights in Hungary is expected to rise 2% to 42.8 million, he said. By 2030, guest night numbers are set to reach 50 million, while the tourism sector's contribution to GDP rises to 16%, he added.

Fielding questions, Nagy said he would propose intervention to ease motor fuel prices, but added that the form this would take hadn't been decided. He stressed the importance of bringing fuel prices in Hungary down to the regional average.

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