Tourism for Hungarians “is a form of expressing patriotism”, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán told a tourism conference organised by the Hungarian Tourism Agency in Budapest. “We’re proud of our country, we’re surrounded by history, we live in it and our lives are a continuation of our fantastic Hungarian culture and cultivation,” Orbán told the Tourism Summit 2019 conference. “The more we love our country, the more interested the world will be in us,” he said. “This way, our love for our country will also be expressed in terms of guest nights, jobs, rising wages and rising profits.” On the topic of global tourism, the prime minister said the sector would continue to get stronger and this would benefit Hungary. The number of foreign guests visiting Hungary and the number of nights they spend in the country has doubled since 2010, he said.
He welcomed the declining costs of long-distance travel and the growing demand in Asia for travelling to Europe. Hungary is in an “excellent position” when it comes to competing for Asian tourists, Orbán said, praising the efforts of Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó and central bank governor György Matolcsy in crafting the government’s Eastern Opening policy. The prime minister also said Hungary’s more recent economic policy measures that he said had contributed to the country’s achievements, such as the single-rate personal income tax regime, family tax benefits and the SZÉP recreational voucher card, would remain intact.
Orbán said his government was aiming to turn Hungary into a centre for sports, gastro and conference tourism. “I see some uncertainty now when it comes to Budapest, but whatever happens, we won’t turn back in terms of our national policy and we’ll carry on with our nation building,” he said. Orbán also noted that the number of cities with which Budapest has direct air links has risen from 86 to 147 over a five-year period.