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Foreign tourism in Hungary expected to slump in 2009

  Foreign tourism may decline by as much as 5% in 2009, while domestic tourism is expected to stagnate due to the economic crisis, Minister of Local Government István Gyenesei said on Tuesday.

Gyenesei said that the unfavorable impact of the crisis has already manifested itself in Budapest’s decreasing conference tourism.

The number of Polish and Romanian tourists underwent a vast increase in Hungary last year, while the number of Dutch and British tourists increased slightly and the number of German, Italian, Spanish and US tourists decreased.

Gyenesei said there is HUF 100 billion (€347.95 million) available to spend on tourism in 2009 and 2010, compared to HUF 81.5 billion in 2007 and 2008. About HUF 70 billion will be available through tenders, while HUF 30 billion will be allocated for priority projects.

In 2007-2008, HUF 55 billion was available for developing tourist attractions and HUF 26.5 billion for renovating accommodations, while 247 projects were granted HUF 67 billion. A total of 26 priority projects received HUF 57 billion.

Gyenesei said there will be HUF 76 billion available for tourism after 2010 if all the current resources are utilized. The minister said a 3 percentage-point increase in the VAT could generate HUF 2-3 billion in extra expenses for hotels. (MTI-Econews)