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New campaign to support hard-hit domestic tourism industry

Officials from the government, the Hungarian Tourism Agency and the countryʼs biggest long-distance transport companies on Monday launched a campaign to promote domestic tourism, according to a report by state news wire MTI.

Lake Balaton

The Central European region has become safer, judging from the scale of novel coronavirus infections, but after a period of high risk, itʼs perhaps safest to vacation in Hungary, Gergely Gulyás, the head of the Prime Ministerʼs Office, said. The aim of the "Travel Safely With Us" campaign is to encourage Hungarians to "vacation at home, or at least at home, too", he added.

Reducing the impact of the coronavirus crisis on the domestic tourism industry, which has contracted by 95%, even as the number of guest nights spent by foreigners has plunged 99%, will require solidarity in the coming months, Gulyás said.

Hungarian Tourism Agency chief executive Zoltán Guller noted that the tourism industry generates 13% of Hungaryʼs GDP and provides the livelihood for 400,000 households.

He said data from the first three weeks of May, when pandemic restrictions were eased, shows a 30% rise in business at commercial accommodations outside of the capital and suggested these hotels and bed and breakfasts could operate at 70% capacity during the summer months. But that will require Hungarians who can, to take their vacations in Hungary, not only because itʼs safe, but to support the livelihoods of several hundred thousand Hungarian families, he added.

Róbert Homolya, the chairman-CEO of state-owned railway company MÁV, said all MÁV passenger trains are being disinfected on a daily basis, and all passengers and conductors are required to wear masks.

He said MÁV will leave an empty seat for every passenger on trains to Lake Balaton during the summer months.