Minister for Innovation and Technology László Palkovics and Parliamentary State Secretary Thomas Bareiß from the German Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy discussed opportunities for recommencing bilateral tourism at an online meeting on 2 June 2020. “German is Hungary most important source market, and the number of German tourists visiting Hungary has increased by 20 percent in recent years. The fact that a significant increase in self-organised trips can be expected following the end of the coronavirus pandemic may result in a renewed expansion of bilateral tourism relations”, it was stated at the meeting.

The online discussion was realised as a continuation of talks between Mr. Palkovics and German Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy Peter Altmaier in May, with the participation of representatives from the Hungarian Tourism Agency. Last year, the total contribution of tourism to Hungary’s GDP exceeded 10 percent, with the number of guest nights having increased by 60 percent since 2010. Over 2 million of the total number of 31.3 million guest nights spent in Hungary in 2019 were related to the 624 thousand German tourists visiting the country. Contributing to the result was the fact that Hungary was accessible from major German cities via 179 air passenger services every week.

Mr. Palkovics said that during the summer period flexibility and security will be among the most important aspects for people who are willing to travel, and accordingly the number of German tourists arriving in Hungary on self-organised trips could also see an increase as a result of the reopening of the borders.

“The Hungarian government is providing 600 billion forints (EUR 1.74 billion) in funding within the framework of the Economy Protection Action Plan to the sector that was hit first and to the most significant extent by the virus crisis, tourism-related enterprises and investments on the part of service providers. The payment of tourism tax has been suspended until the end of 2020, and a further 150 billion forints (EUR 434 million) are being provided for development projects within the final phase of the Kisfaludy Program, aimed at the comprehensive refurbishment of Hungarian tourist accommodation establishments”, the Minister explained.

The parties also discussed issues relating to the future and prospects of the automotive industry, which represents a determining area of the economies of both countries and of bilateral relations. Mr. Palkovics emphasised that the earliest possible recovery of the sector will also be a priority during the rebooting of the economy following the virus crisis in view of the sector’s extensive supply chains. “In the interests of preserving jobs, it may be worth considering the more rational scheduling of the introduction of the strict environmental requirements being imposed with relation to the sector’s participants”, the Hungarian Minister indicated.

(Ministry for Innovation and Technology)