“In Hungary, the performance of the tourism sector has been continuously increasing over the past seven years; last year the sector set a new record by generating 10.7 percent of GDP, and according to plan this ratio will be increasing to 16 percent by 2030”, State Secretary for International Communications and Relations Zoltán Kovács declared in Štrbské Pleso (Csorbató), Slovakia, where he and his official counterparts from the Visegrád Group (V4) signed a tourism cooperation protocol on Wednesday.

The signing ceremony represented the close of the two-day tourism conference held at the ski resort, at which the three main topics of discussion were the current state of tourism in each member state, the sustainability of tourism, and opportunities for cooperation.

The contents of the protocol are aimed at increasing the effectiveness of the tourism marketing strategies of the four member states of the Visegrád Group (the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia) through the mutual exploitation of the experiences of the participants and their individual opportunities, and via joint projects. Reinforcing marketing cooperation targeted at particularly solvent markets is justified to the greatest extent by the fact that tourists, and especially those arriving from other continents, regard the whole Central European region as a destination, not individual countries.

“The goal of the joint marketing plan is to include existing capabilities and destinations in one coherent unit”, Mr. Kovács said, explaining the essence of the plans in a statement to Hungarian news agency MTI. At the joint press conference following the signing of the protocol, the State Secretary pointed out: The significance of V4 cooperation has increased in recent years, and one element of this is closer cooperation within the tourism sector. “Hungary is striving to forge ahead with a good example, as also indicated by the fact that the number of people visiting the country has increased by fifty percent over the past eight years”, he stated.

“Tourism now generates 10.7 percent of GDP in Hungary, and our tourism strategy plans to increase this ratio to 16 percent by 2030”, Mr. Kovács declared. “800 billion forints (EUR 2.53bn) have flowed into the sector in recent years, and close to a thousand tourism projects are being realised again this year”, he added. With relation to the results, the State Secretary said 2018 was a record year for tourism, and never before had so many tourists visited the country; the number of tourist nights spent here by foreign tourists in 2018 exceeded 31 million.

The Director of the Slovakian Transport Ministry’s tourism department, who is also called Zoltán Kovács, said V4 tourism cooperation was exemplary explaining that the participating countries are not really competitors on overseas markets in view of the fact that tourists from further afield generally visit the region as opposed to an individual country, and accordingly the goal is to ensure that they stay as long as possible.

The Czech Development Ministry’s Deputy Minister David Koppitz was of the same opinion, telling reporters that their goal is not only to increase the number of tourists, but also the number of tourist nights spent in host countries.

State Secretary Anna Krupka from the Polish Ministry of Sport and Tourism said the meeting had been constructive and fruitful, adding that it had proven that it is important to further tighten cooperation, because the parties have high hopes for it.