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Major development programs to start in tourism

The Hungarian Tourism Agency (MTÜ) plans significant investments in several cities and regions in Hungary, Zoltán Guller, CEO of MTÜ, said at a press conference in Budapest on Wednesday. Plans include the renovation of several World Heritage sites, and major projects in Esztergom and at Lake Balaton.

The city of Esztergom will receive HUF 12 billion for reconstruction projects, and ten adventure parks around Lake Balaton will also be renovated. The MTÜ says it aims to lower seasonality and encourage tourists to spend one more night in Hungary.

In the first ten months of last year, tourists spent as many guest nights in Hungary as in the full year of 2016. Guest nights were close to 30 million, and the goal for 2030 is 50 million guest nights, Guller said. Most tourists came from Germany, he noted, with British tourists in second place. Significant growth has also been seen in visitors from the Czech Republic, Poland, Russia and the United States -  with more visitors expected from the latter with the launch of direct flights to New York and Chicago in May. 

For this year, the MTÜ plans the renovation of several World Heritage sites, with a total budget of HUF 10 bln.

Regarding its accommodation development program, Guller said that so far 580 applications for funding have been received, with requests totaling HUF 21 bln.

This year, Hungary also has claim to being the gastronomical capital of Europe, Guller declared, as Budapest hosts a major awards ceremony for new Michelin star restaurants on March 26, an event it is hoped will raise the profile of Hungarian cuisine.