Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has stated that one of the most successful sectors in the national economy of Hungary is tourism, because the country is one of the safest in Europe. He was speaking at the Tourism Summit 2018 conference, where the Pro Turismo awards were presented to specialists in the tourism sector, and where Hungary’s new country brand was unveiled.

The Prime Minister said that tourism now accounts for a little over 10 per cent of gross domestic product, and provides jobs for 400,000 people. He added that last year’s results in tourism were the best ever, and this year promises to be similar or even better.

Mr. Orbán stressed that today Hungary is a strong country, and it can be seen to be capable of greater achievements than its size would suggest.

Ever more people, he added, are interested in the country and accord it recognition, because it has young entrepreneurs who are successful abroad as well as at home.

In the Prime Minister’s opinion, someone successfully running a business in the tourism sector is by definition a patriot, as tourism is a livelihood which represents patriotism.

Mr. Orbán said that Hungary’s economic achievements mean that it has not only the freedom but also the strength to rebuild tourism as much as possible. Many in the sector also have foreign experience, the Prime Minister said, which is “all the better”. He encouraged young people working in the sector to gain such experience, but not forget that they have a country which they can return home to and where they can use their experience.

He went on to say that Hungary is involved in debates about the future of Europe, with pro-immigration and anti-immigration sides. Hungary wants to use its independence to preserve its cultural heritage and way of life, he stressed.

The Prime Minister described the attention Hungary is receiving as having some drawbacks, while at the same time encouraging ever more people to visit. This should be turned to its advantage, he said, adding that if the country is successful and strong, it will also do well in tourism.

Mr. Orbán said that the value of supporting the tourism sector and those working in it is confirmed by the results.

This year the Government has provided a record level of financial support, he said, and it plans to continue to do so next year.

The plan is to raise the sector’s contribution to GDP from its current level of 10 per cent to 16 per cent by 2030. In addition to Budapest, every single corner of Hungary should be linked to the “bloodstream” of tourism, and domestic tourism must be further strengthened, Mr. Orbán stressed.

The Tourism Summit 2018 conference also saw the introduction of Hungary’s new country brand, the slogan of which is “Hungary, Wellspring of Wonders”.

Zoltán Guller, Chief Executive Officer of the Hungarian Tourism Agency, said that a year ago the Hungarian tourism development strategy defining the direction for the sector’s development was unveiled. Its goal is to turn Hungary into one of Central Europe’s leading tourism destinations by 2030. Since 2010, he noted, the expansion of tourism has been continuous, and its rate is astounding.

The Chief Executive said that the agency’s proudest result is that, within the Kisfaludy Programme, two thirds of guest houses outside Budapest have received funds, enabling the refurbishment of more than 700 tourist accommodation facilities.

He said that Hungary is wonderful, which is something that presents a task to the Hungarian people, whose mission is to showcase their country to one another and the world. Next year’s summit will be about digital tourism solutions, Mr. Guller said.

Dávid Farkas, Deputy Chief Executive of the Hungarian Tourism Agency, said that the greatest challenge for the agency has been creation of a country brand, which should express all Hungary’s wonders. At least 60 per cent of advertising is planned to be on online platforms, he said, directly reaching tourists, so that it can be tracked and measured in terms of bookings.

In addition to direct advertisements, the focus will also be on thematic media slots. The new logo, image and image film will be introduced in thirteen countries by the end of January, and the global media partners – Expedia and National Geographic – will broadcast the campaign film more than 3,000 times. The country advertisements will feature in major airlines’ magazines, and will appear on 2,000 billboards and locations in public spaces in six countries.