Boston, MA -- (SBWIRE) -- 03/18/2014 -- Inbound travel to Hungary is largely dependent on the economic strength of key source markets in Europe; as such, we saw little growth in 2012. More positive figures were seen in 2013, with arrivals reaching 10.7mn, up from 10.4mn in 2012. We expect growth in inbound arrivals to accelerate from 2014 to reach an annual arrivals figure of 13.0mn in 2018. Only one country from outside Europe makes it into the top 10 markets for arrivals to Hungary, and in the longer term, diversification would reduce Hungary's vulnerability to economic downturn among its neighbours.
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European countries also dominate Hungary's outbound travel market, and with the country seeing a return to GDP growth in 2013, we expect to see healthy increases in terms of outbound travel throughout our forecast period. By 2018 we expect the number of outbound travellers to reach 7.4mn, a healthy potential market for developers.
Tourism to Hungary is largely focused on the capital, Budapest, which has long been established as one of the world's most enduringly popular tourist destinations. Budapest receives millions of visitors per year, but Hungary has much to offer outside of the capital, including the historical town of Visegrad, several UNESCO World Heritage sites, and the Mecsek mountains. Expansion of tourism to more rural areas would bring the benefit of both tourism spending and infrastructure investment to further corners of the country.
Infrastructure investment is vital to the long-term sustainability of the country's tourism market, particularly the expansion of the rail network to make areas such as Lake Balaton more accessible to visitors. Hungary receives a large volume of visitors via its road and rail connections with its neighbours, but more long-haul travel will require the expansion of air travel connections.
Overall, the future is looking very positive for Hungary's tourism market, with growth in inbound and outbound travel lending confidence to investors, particularly international hotel groups, such as Starwood, that are planning to expand in the market.
Some of our key forecasts and developments include:
- Continued investment in infrastructure is yielding benefits, with the international airport at Budapest subject to improvement works. Several infrastructure improvement projects, including expansion of the country's rail network, are also under way.
- As the eurozone economy recovers, we expect increases in both inbound and outbound travel to reach 13.0mn and 7.4mn respectively by 2018.
- BMI has given Hungary an overall Tourism Industry Risk/Reward rating of 59.30 out of 100, giving it the top ranking out of 25 countries in Central and Eastern Europe.
- Key events in 2014 include various cultural festivals in Budapest and throughout the country, including the Farsangi Karneval and the world-famous Sziget Festival.
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