The Hungarian capital intends to return to international tourism as soon as possible after the COVID-19 pandemic. EURACTIV’s partner Ouest-France reports.
Residents of Budapest’s seventh district will tell you that it’s been ages since they’d spent such peaceful nights!
The city’s old Jewish quarter, which has been topping the list of holiday destinations for several years, has been gradually emptied out since the coronavirus outbreak at the beginning of March. The same unusual calm reigns on the ship-free Danube, and in the thermal baths that have been keeping their doors closed.
But the Hungarian government intends to continue to take advantage of the “golden age” that tourism has experienced in recent years and aims to increase it from 10% to 16% of the country’s GDP by 2022.
The Budapest Tourist Office is therefore eagerly awaiting the return of foreign tourists and published a video entitled “Budapest Awaits!“, showing a dancer in its emblematic… yet deserted places.
But could the tourism sector be up and running by the summer?
This is what Zoltán Guller, the director of the Hungarian Tourism Agency, wants to believe. According to him, security will now be the number one criterion for international customers and Hungary has a good card to play since it has, so far, been largely spared by the COVID-19 pandemic.
With masks for staff, disinfectant for all floors, the possibility of last-minute cancellations, hotels are expected to be ready.
And on the beaches of Lake Balaton, very popular with Germans, Hungarians may even imitate the Italians, who have been setting up deckchairs that respect social distancing.
However, the famous Sziget Festival, which welcomes tens of thousands of Europeans to the “Isle of Liberty” each year, will have to be cancelled.
To the dismay of those hoping for more reasoned tourism after the crisis is over, everything seems to be in place for a fresh start.
But before that, the borders that were closed in mid-March will have to be reopened, and no date has yet been put forward for that.