The journalists of HIPA (Hungarian International Press Association) were informed about the results of Hungarian tourism and the renewed activities of the national tourism marketing organization in the framework of an English press conference at hotel Hilton Budapest on October 10. The guests of the press conference were Dr. Viktória Horváth, the Deputy State Secretary for Tourism of the Ministry for National Economy, Gergely Horváth, Deputy CEO of Hungarian Tourism Plc. and Dr. Imre Deák, the CEO of Danubius hotel chain.

Dr. Viktória Horváth, the Deputy State Secretary for Tourism of the Ministry for National Economy believes that the peak season this year has brought the highest turnover ever in the tourism industry. Pursuant to the data of the Central Statistical Office for August, in the first eight months of the year, increase has been registered not only in the number of overnight stays but also in the revenue from accommodation fees. According to the data of the statistical office, in the first eight months of the year, 6.1 million guests spent more than 16.2 million nights at Hungarian commercial accommodation establishments. The number of guests has increased by 5.6% and the number of overnight stays has increased by 4.7% compared to the same period of the previous year, while revenues have risen by 10.5 percent.

SZÉP Card has clearly contributed to the excellent results since the introduction of the card constantly encourages domestic tourism and stimulates economy. The increase in domestic tourism can be attributed to the new benefit introduced in 2011: the revenue of commercial accommodation establishments from SZÉP Card is the fifth of their total revenue from domestic accommodation fees. At present, 866,000 card holders can pay by SZÉP card at almost 50 thousand accepting locations, and the number of card holders have increased with 100,000 members this year. By the end of August, HUF 121 billion have been uploaded on the cards by employers, which means that SZÉP card has helped in the holiday, recreation, meal, health maintenance of at least one million people in the summer peak season. The card plays an important role in the rural economic development: since its introduction, more than HUF 93 billion have been received via the card by tens of thousands of – in 80% rural SME – accepting locations. Incoming tourism has continued to rise sharply; Hungary is more and more attractive for foreign visitors.

Gergely Horváth, the Deputy CEO for Tourism of Hungarian Tourism Plc. believes that the positive indicators of the tourism peak season are encouraging.

Gergely Horváth, the Deputy CEO for Tourism of Hungarian Tourism Plc. believes that the positive indicators of the tourism peak season are encouraging.

Gergely Horváth, the Deputy CEO for Tourism of Hungarian Tourism Plc. believes that the positive indicators of the tourism peak season are encouraging.

“The economic and social importance of tourism is indisputable in Hungary. Around 13% of workplaces are generated directly or indirectly by tourism. Annually more than HUF a thousand billion revenue of the Hungarian economy derives directly from tourism. The results of the sector exceeded the pre-crisis level already in 2011. In 2012, we even surpassed the results of the record-breaking year of 2011. Compared to the data measured in 2007, the number of overnight stays increased by 8.3% last year, which can be attributed to the 4.6% increase in domestic and 12.0% increase in foreign overnight stays. Revenue from accommodation fees increased by 8.4% in 2012 compared to the pre-crisis year. The key to success is that we could react to market changes and appeared on more and more markets, addressing more and more target groups” – said Gergely Horváth.

The increase has continued this year as well.

Pursuant to the report of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) published in August, entitled World Tourism Barometer, regarding the entire year, UNWTO expects that the growth rate of the number of international tourist arrivals will not only reach the maximum of the previous 3-4% forecast worldwide, but may even exceed the previous prognosis on an annual level.

According to the latest forecast of the European Travel Commission (ETC), the number of international tourist arrivals to Europe is going to increase by 2.1% in 2013 compared to 2012. The ETC expects a 3.4% increase for 2013 in the group of Central European and Baltic countries (Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Poland, Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia) – i.e. the most direct competitors –, improving its previous quarter’s forecasts again.

Compared to European and worldwide forecasts, the number of foreign visitors at Hungarian commercial accommodation establishments in the first eight months of 2013 has increased with 6.6%, i.e. at an even higher pace than the international average.

2012 was the first year when the number of travellers worldwide has exceeded 1 billion! Pursuant to the UNWTO estimates, this number is going to be 1.8 billion by 2030. The increase can be largely attributed to the so-called remote, emerging source markets, which represent a huge potential for Hungary as well!

Results of the marketing activities of the Hungarian Tourism Plc. from 2010 to 2013

The management of the Hungarian Tourism Plc. was renewed on July 2, 2012 by the new owner, the Hungarian Development Bank Plc. The new management of the company started to renew the national tourism marketing organization in accordance with the expectations of the owner – protecting the existing values, but with an entirely new approach. The focus of the new approach was the introduction of a sales-centred market attitude, which helped in deepening the ties with professional organizations and market players in order to plan and implement several joint campaigns that are measurable and produce tangible results. Worldwide changes and the resulting transformation of travelling and booking habits have posed new challenges to the Hungarian Tourism Plc., thereby forcing the activities and organization of the company to constant renewal.

 Continuous professional and organizational renewal;

  Brand building, presenting the touristic offer as a brand;

  Product-based marketing communication;

  New buzzwords (’Winter Harmony’, ’Spring Awakening’, ‘Summer Buzz’, ‘Fall Serenity’) and product- based, seasonal approach to help boost domestic tourism;

  fully renewed Internet site;

  closer cooperation with the domestic and the international representatives of the trade (ETC, V4), more joint campaigns and offers;

  Stronger emphasis on developing the product base, particularly the introduction of new products and services;

  presence on more emerging markets;

  new tools to stimulate business tourism.

The above key sentences summarize the most important novelties in Hungarian Tourism Plc.’s marketing plan for 2013 and are new elements in the directions of the national tourism-related marketing activities.

In addition to the traditional tourism target markets, the national marketing activities have been launched on new, emerging markets as well. These are the following: Countries of the Arabic region, Southern neighbouring countries, Brazil and India. As a significant step, Hungary has appeared in regions that had not been involved previously in Hungarian tourism but represent a significant market potential, and we have managed to display plenty of results in a period of 1-3 years as well. As an organizational renewal, these – mainly remote – markets are represented via our headquarters in Budapest.

Hungarian Tourism Plc. started its professional activities in the Arab countries in 2010. As a first step, we have explored the characteristics as well as economic and tourism features of the relevant market, and the building of B2B relationships began in 2011. Within the region, we concentrate on the following countries and the exploitation of their tourism potential: Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Qatar. In the last 2 years, the number of incoming tourists and overnight stays has also increased in the European host countries by 30% on average.[1]

Since 2011, Hungary has been present at the largest travel fair of the region, the Arabian Travel Market in Dubai every year. In addition, we have been present at several fairs jointly with service providers in Abu Dhabi and Riyadh. In 2011, 8 professional and 3 media study trips, while in 2012, 4 media study trips and 3 professional study trips were organized for the representatives of the press and the tour operators. Also in 2013, several study trips have arrived already from Saudi Arabia with the participation of tour operators and organized by the chairman of the Arab media council. In addition to the above, we have organized a road show to introduce Hungary, involving several countries of the region. For the first time in the life of the national tourism marketing organization, an Arabic website and a tourism brochure have also been created.

The Hungarian Tourism Plc. started to be actively involved in the South American Region in the autumn of 2011. Since 2012, we have been present at important professional fairs and events and have met the major tour operators. A continuous and mutual cooperation has been formed with the Hungarian Embassy in Brazil, cultural and commercial diplomats and honorary consuls as well as representatives of the local Hungarian community. In the framework of cooperation with the Visegrad countries, several successful campaigns have been implemented, which have highly exceeded the expected results. Thereby we have attended the “BRAZTOA” travel exhibition with a road show involving the following cities: Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Porto Allegre and Brasilia. An important milestone was the South American tour involving five countries in total (Brazil, Columbia, Peru, Chile, Argentina), organized jointly with V4 countries. The professional and journalist study trips from the region received positive feedback and resulted in nice media publications without exception. Besides, our biggest success was the presence at the carnival in Brazil.

Regarding Hungary, the previous year brought extremely good guest traffic results, though it should be added that the Central Statistical Office started to measure the statistics of the South American source market only from 2011, therefore we do not have a real basis for comparison. However, as a result, in 2012 we could record an outstanding growth at commercial accommodation establishments: The number of guest nights increased by 104.0% and the number of hotel guest nights increased by 95.5%.

Hungarian Tourism Plc. has been present in the southern neighbouring countries since 2011. Taking into account the proximity of the country, this activity is carried out by the International Market Development Office of the Hungarian Tourism Plc. in Budapest, established for this purpose, similarly to the above countries. In the southern neighbouring countries, in the first years our activities focused first of all on countries that are the most significant for us both in terms of population and incoming tourism to Hungary. If southern neighbouring countries are treated together, regarding incoming tourism, they are the 14th in the list of our source countries: the 259,391 guest nights realized in 2012, with an increase of 14% on average, means 43,013 more guest nights than registered in 2011.

In the period between 2011 and 2013, more than 50 campaigns were implemented in the region. Since neighbouring countries are concerned, the emphasis is put first of all on general public communication. Nevertheless, our activities also involve professional relationships, assisting and encouraging the work of tour operators. During our activities since 2011, the campaigns implemented have provided a number of relevant presences in front of the general public for Hungary. Our activities are thereby carried out at the relevant emerging markets by using the following communication channels and marketing tools: organizing and conducting professional and media study trips, travel trade workshops, presentations, conducting sales trips and press conferences, presence on tourism exhibitions, online traffic boost campaigns with service provider offers, conducting campaigns and award games in social media, travel trade and general public presence generated by establishing long term cooperations (e.g. Association of Croatian Travel Agencies).

In the past three years, Hungarian Tourism Plc. has hosted more than 8,000 people all together – foreign media and tourism professionals – in the framework of its study trips.

Hungarian Tourism Plc. would like to raise the attention of foreign journalists not only on traditional Hungarian sights but also on innovative programs and attractions. The program of visiting journalists also includes components like the discovery of the top gastronomy of our country in premium restaurants and attractive entertainment and recreational opportunities for the younger generation (contemporary music programs, ruin pubs, design tours).

The company has also presented such unique sides of Hungary as the world of films, the centres of domestic film industry. As an example, under the study trip named “Hollywood on the Danube”, four renowned American journalists visited our country as guests of the Hungarian Tourism Plc. at the end of this August. The trip aimed at promoting the Hungarian film production opportunities among Hollywood journalists and at showing why it is worth to bring American film productions into our country.

With the emergence of new communication channels, today it is possible to address an increasingly wider audience: as part of the study trips, authors of several leading foreign blogs have also visited Hungary in order to share the travel experience with their blog’s followers. Most recently, in June this year, 9 German bloggers were hosted by the Hungarian Tourism Plc. in order to present the new, youthful face of Lake Balaton and Budapest for the representatives of the new media channels. Most of them consider Budapest one of the most exciting cities of Europe: young, creative, but at the same time cool and perfectly suitable for recreation.

Regarding major events, typically attracting foreign visitors, international communication focused mainly on the promotion of the Formula 1 Hungarian Grand Prix and Sziget Festival.

With the professional cooperation of the Hungarian Tourism Plc., in the past few years decisions have been made about the launch of several new flights to Hungary. The national tourism marketing organization has done everything within its power to ensure that the guest traffic to Hungary does not suffer any significant damage in connection with the shutdown of Malév operations. By means of all communication channels, Hungarian Tourism Plc. communicates that Hungary as a tourism destination continues to be easily accessible.

In addition to the promotions organized by the foreign representations of Hungarian Tourism Plc., the national tourism marketing organization also directs attention to Hungary by means of large-scale, centralized campaigns.

The 5th, 6th and 7th Budapest Winter Invitation campaigns, organized by the Hungarian Tourism Plc., have generated a total of 244,000 guest nights – more than ever before.

The company organized the Budapest Winter Invitation (BWI) winter traffic boost campaign for the seventh time between November 2012 and April 7, 2013, which continues to support the promotion of Budapest as an attractive tourism destination and the increase in the pre-and post-season guest traffic of the capital. Surpassing all previous BWI campaign results, the promotion generated more than 93,455 guest nights in total in the three-, four- and five-star hotels of the capital that had joined the promotion. As a new strategic partner, the Museum of Fine Arts and the Budapest Spring Festival also joined the seventh BWI campaign, thereby completing the basic product range with new attractions. Around 50 hotels from the capital and several strategic partners joined the promotion.

Organized by the company, tourism offers of Hungary have been presented abroad in 264 tourism exhibitions. The largest of these events were the Internationale Tourismus Börse (ITB) in Berlin and the World Travel Market (WTM) in London.

The national exhibition stand, placing our underground water treasure in the focus of attention, won several international awards already in 2011: Holiday World – Prague, IFT – Belgrade. ITB – Berlin, Intourmarket – Moscow, MITT – Moscow, CorTOUR – Zagreb and EIBTM – Barcelona.

The stand was very popular and further increased the number of awards in 2012:

 At the World Travel Market (WTM) tourism exhibition in London, opened on November 5, where 4,947 exhibitors from 189 countries and regions were presented, the Hungarian national stand won the “Best Stand Design” award based on general public votes. The award was received by the CEO of the Hungarian Tourism Plc., Marianna Dene and Gergely Horváth, Deputy CEO for Tourism, on November 6, from the chairman of the fair.

  On the EIBTM fair in Barcelona, which is the most prestigious business tourism exhibition of the world, among more than 3,100 exhibitors from 170 countries, the stand of the Hungarian Tourism Plc. won the “Best Stand Design Overall” award.

It was the 9th time that the Hungarian presence, focussing on our underground water treasure, had been recognized at an international fare.

Gegrely Horváth was elected into the Executive Board of the ETC. As the recognition of Hungary’s professional dedication, the European Travel Commission (ETC) management elected Gergely Horváth, the Deputy CEO of the Hungarian Tourism Plc. as a member of the ETC Executive Board for the period of 2012 and 2013. Early December, 2011, Gergely Horváth accepted the invitation to represent the V4 countries within the Central European tourism region in the Executive Board. Target markets within the ETC cooperation: Brazil, Canada, China and the USA. The aim of marketing cooperation is the establishment of a significant “Europe brand”. The creative campaign aims at presenting Europe as “endless destinations” by using online search marketing and presence as well as the social media.

Gergely Horváth has become the vice-president of the European Travel Commission. The European Travel Commission (ETC), comprising of the national tourism offices of 33 European countries, held its 84th General Meeting in Dublin on April 11, 2013. The main agenda of the meeting was the re-election of the president and vice-presidents of the organization. As a result, Gergely Horváth, the Deputy CEO for tourism of the Hungarian Tourism Plc. was elected as one of the vice-presidents of the organization, and Marios Hammides, the manager of the tourism organization in Cyprus was elected as the other vice-president. The main goal of ETC is the promotion of Europe as a tourism destination at overseas source markets.

The tourism cooperation of V4 countries has also continued under the brand name The European Quartet – One Melody. The main aim of the tourism cooperation of the Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary and Slovakia is the joint promotion of the tourism offers of the Central European region by combining the available resources and coordinated work in an increasingly wide range, especially on overseas markets. In this framework, in 2011, our country was represented at the largest travel trade fair (SATTE) in India, at the annual professional workshop of the professional association of Brazilian tour operators (BRAZTOA), at one of the largest tourism fairs in China, the COOTM exhibition as well as at the International Travel Exhibition (ITE HK) in Hong Kong. Based on the demand characteristics of remote markets, the significance of cooperation with the Visegrad countries (V4) and the European Travel Commission (ETC) is increasingly significant. The target markets of V4 countries are the United States, Russia, India, Japan, China, Brazil and as new markets, Azerbaijan and Australia. The V4 countries will begin a joint product development. The primary purpose is the development of thematic tours, the focus on product-based marketing. Regarding the use of marketing tools, the emphasis continues to be on professional programmes, nevertheless, the establishment of online communication forms will also commence. It is important to highlight the importance of V4 as a brand and individual region in the tourism sector in search of regional cooperation. As a branding tool, Hungarian Tourism Plc. raises the attention of service providers to tendering opportunities provided by the International Visegrad Fund and encourages the more efficient use of tender opportunities. The high-level meeting of government leaders in charge of the tourism of V4 countries will take place in February 2014. The Hungarian V4 rotating presidency began in July 2013, emphasizing the importance of e-marketing and social communication. Therefore it continues the social media campaigns in process and introduces them on new markets. The basic idea of presidency is also branding and product development with regard to tourism cooperation. During the Hungarian presidency, the tourism cooperation of V4 countries will begin outside the existing target markets, i.e. on new markets as well. Since turning towards promising, emerging markets is strongly emphasised in all member countries, regarding the new markets, the shift is going to be towards the Arabic and Australian region. However, it does not mean a withdrawal from the current target markets, on the contrary, it offers the opportunity for all four countries the stronger promotion of V4 as a region and brand. In addition, an important goal of the Hungarian presidency is the boost of guest traffic between the four countries, the main tool of which is the establishment of joint product and offer packages.

Conference tourism continues to be an important segment of inbound tourism in Hungary. However, on an international level, we can record significant drawbacks compared to Europe regarding events held at conference centres. Until the construction of a world-class, high-capacity conference centre, Hungary continues to be competitive only regarding events with 3-400 participants. For our country, the largest opportunities lie in the market of association conferences, therefore the Hungarian Convention Bureau (HCB) has expanded its tools, develops a new conference ambassador programme, has continued the search for international scientific conferences and takes full advantage of the tender opportunities for winning international conferences. It pays special attention to the fields of scientific life, health industry, research and development, medical technology and pharmaceutical industry. The priority target markets of the MICE activity in 2013: Great Britain, France, Northern Europe, the USA, Germany and Switzerland. On these markets, HCB organizes several sales and marketing campaigns with the involvement of the foreign representation network.” said Gergely Horváth, the Deputy CEO for Tourism of the Hungarian Tourism Plc.

The HCB is involved in bringing several significant conferences and travel trade events to Hungary, among which the most prominent one was the Routes Europe conference due to its relevance, organized this May in Budapest with the involvement of airlines and airports.

Additional major events tendered and won in 2013:

  The Society of Relatives of Persons with Alzheimer’s and other dementia diseases, 2017, 1,500 participants

  Congress of the Hungarian Society for Immunology in 2014, 650 participants, Budapest

  Union Internationale des Avocats, 2016, 1,000 participants

  Archery World Cup, July 2015, Gödöllő, 1,200 participating competitors

  European Youth Olympic Festival in Győr, July 2017, 3,000 young athletes

  Mundiavocat – World Football Cup for Lawyers, Felcsút-Budapest, 2,000 lawyers

  Scander World Cup, Budapest, 2017, 1,500 participants

The results of the new marketing approach and the promotion of premium services can be seen not only from the increase in guest traffic but also from the increase of revenue: the gross accommodation fee revenue of commercial accommodation establishments have increased by 11.2% this August, and increased by 10% from January to August, compared to the same period of the previous year.

In addition, increase in revenues was also influenced by the increase of the average rate of rent rooms.

[1] The Hungarian Central Statistical Office (KSH) does not measure the number of incoming tourists/overnight stays from Arab countries to Hungary

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