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Running tourism brisk in 2009 in spite of economic crisis

Running-race tourism was strong in Hungary last year in spite of the economic crisis, the business daily Világgazdasáag reported on Thursday.

Race Director Árpád Kocsis of the Budapest Sport Iroda (BSI), Hungary's biggest race organizer, told Világgazdaság that 80,000 runners participated in the organization's 17 races in 2009, up 5%-10% from 2008.

BSI data shows that 9,000 foreign runners and their companions arrived to Hungary from 63 countries last year for Budapest's two biggest races - the Spar Budapest International marathon and the Nike Budapest International Half Marathon.

Kocsis said that these foreign participants spent nearly 29,000 guest nights in Budapest, spending an estimated HUF 1 billion (€3.82m) in the city during their average stay of approximately three nights.

The Budapest Sport Iroda race director noted that the BSI's sponsorship revenue, which accounts for 70% of the organization's total proceeds, declined by one-third in 2009.

A total of 300 running races will be held in Hungary this year. (MTI-Econews)