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Number of foreign visitors to Hungary rise 2.7% to 41m in Q4

The number of foreign visitors in Hungary was up 2.7% at 40.62 million in 2009, while the number of Hungarians traveling abroad fell 3.0% to 16.90 million, the Central Statistical Office (KSH) said on Monday.

The number of foreign visitors to Hungary rose 0.3% in the fourth quarter of 2009 from the same period of last year to 8.61 million. The number of Hungarians traveling abroad fell 5.7% to 3.72 million in the period.

Hungary's tourism surplus rose almost 18.2% to HUF 429 billion in 2009 as spending by foreign tourists (tourism exports) rose 10.4% to HUF 1.201 billion and Hungarians spending abroad rose 6.5% in forint terms to 777 billion. HUF 820 billion or 68% of the amount spent by foreign visitors in Hungary was related to tourism consumption. Of tourism imports, HUF 438 billion or 57% was related to tourism.

Hungary's tourism surplus was HUF 105 billion in the fourth quarter, up 4% from the same period of 2008, resulting from tourism exports of HUF 263 billion and imports of HUF 158 billion.

Spending by foreign tourists in Hungary exports fell 3.3% yr/yr in Q4 in the first drop experienced since 2007, and Q4 spending by Hungarians abroad was down 7.6%, dropping for the second quarter in a row after increases since 2006, the year of the previous fiscal tightening.

The forint-term increase was boosted by the weakening of the forint which fell 12% in the full-year. The forint weakened on average 3% against the euro in Q4 2009 from the same period of the previous year, and was on average 12% in 2009 than in 2008.

The average length of stay for foreign visitors in Hungary was 2.4 days both in Q4 and in 2009, both slightly down from 2.5 in Q3 and in 2008.

Foreign visitors, spending more than one day in Hungary, made up 24% of all visitors in Q4 and 22% of the total for the full year, coming in the largest numbers from Germany and Austria, and they spent on average 7.2 days in Hungary.

Those spending several days in Hungary spent 45% of all expenditure on accommodation and catering 8% of food, 12% on other products and 7% on other services, KSH said.

12.7 million of the all foreign visitors arrived with the aim of tourism, and only 68% of them spent more than one days in the country.

Hungarian travelers stayed on average 4.5 days abroad in the fourth quarter, less than 5.1 days in Q3 or in Q4 2008, and also down from 4.8 days in 2008.

33% of Hungarian visitors were one-day visitors, and half of them went on shopping tours. Tourism was the motive in the case of 29% one-day visits and in 81% of longer trips. Official trips made up 17% of one-day travels and 16% of several-day visits of Hungarians abroad. (MTI-Econews)