A 15pc increase in the number of guest-nights spent at four- and five-star hotels paved the way for a successful 2005 tourism year in Hungary, according to an article published in the Tuesday issue of the economic daily Magyar Gazdasag.
Napi Gazdasag quoted Regional Development Minister Istvan Kolber as saying that the Hungarian tourist industry registered its best year since 1998 in 2005, with estimated guest nights having exceeded the 19m plateau.
Revenue at Hungarian hotels rose by 15pc in 2005 compared to 2004, with four- and five-star hotel in Budapest generating the largest increase in proceeds, according to Akos Niklai of the Hungarian Hotel Association. Mr Niklai said that guest-nights at four- and five-star hotels throughout the country had also increased by 15pc in 2005, compared to an overall gain of 6.7pc for hotels of all categories. Mr Niklai added that guest-nights at Hungary's health and wellness hotels had grown by a robust estimated total of 73pc in 2005.
Domestic tourist volume rose by 10pc during the first three quarters of 2005, compared to a 2.5pc increase in the volume of foreign guests during the same period, according to Mr Niklai. The honorary president of the Hungarian Hotel Association attributed the gain in domestic tourism to holiday vouchers, tourist rebates and effective marketing strategies, while ascribing the growth in foreign tourism to the increasing prevalence of discount airlines.
Gabriella Molnar of the Association of Hungarian Travel Agencies (MUISZ) blamed the relative stagnation in 2005 foreign tourism on a 5pc decrease in the number of nights that German guests spent at Hungarian accommodations during the first three-quarters of the year. Molnar noted that despite the drop, Germans still spend the most guest-nights in Hungary, though that a large increase in the number of tourists from countries such as France, England, Ireland, Japan and China was rapidly closing the gap.
2005 was not a bad year for Hungarian village tourism, said Eszter Miklay, secretary of the National Village and Agricultural Tourism Alliance (FATOSZ), with more tourists seeking the bucolic climes of the Great Plain and the northeastern hill country, while the number of visitors to the traditionally strong village-tourism region of Transdanubia stagnated.
Minister Kolber said that prospects for Hungarian tourism at the beginning of 2006 are good, with "boatloads" of Americans expected.
The Central Statistical Office (KSH) is scheduled to release November tourism statistics on Wednesday and tourism statistics for all of 2005 on February 10.