2020.11.14.

HTA business tourism trend report: Budapest, Hajdúszoboszló and Eger were October’s most popular destinations

As the National Tourism Data Supply Centre (NTDSC) operated by the Hungarian Tourism Agency (HTA) receives statistical data on a daily basis on all accommodation types, these are suitable for drawing a detailed picture of individual months or even shorter periods that are important in terms of the tourism industry. These include the autumn break and long weekends.

Thanks to the autumn break, October is a time for a short period of relaxation, as well as an opportunity for visiting relatives and remembering departed family members. The majority of people set off on their trips accompanied by others, and most stayed in hotels or private and other types of accommodation outside of Budapest. Although October’s guest numbers in Budapest were only 10% of last year’s figures, the capital remained the destination of choice for Hungarians (just as for foreigners last year), preceding Hajdúszoboszló and Eger.

October 2020

With a series of campaigns lasting until mid-October, the HTA showcased its offers for all four seasons and motivated Hungarians to travel by presenting Hungarian experiences. The series started off by presenting what is on offer for tourists in the autumn by Lake Balaton, concurrently with a campaign focusing on the whole of Hungary.

The increase in traffic in the autumn break lasting from 23 October to 1 November also helped contribute to the fact that a total of 627 thousand guests spent nights in Hungarian accommodation in October 2020, of which 591 thousand were Hungarians. 1.6 million overnight stays in accommodation were registered, 1.4 million of which were spent by Hungarians. The number of overnight stays in October amounted to 87% of last year’s figure. 91% of all guests in October travelled to accommodation locations outside of Budapest, where they spent a total of 1.4 million nights. 96% of provincial guests were Hungarians, and they spent 92% of the nights outside of Budapest.

As in September, hotels were once again the most popular type of provincial accommodation, with guests spending almost half the nights at hotels, 49%. Another 33% were spent at other and private forms of accommodation, 10% were spent at bed and breakfasts and 4% in community accommodation.

National overview

Besides the Balaton region, where 19% of all domestic overnight stays were spent last month, Hungarian guests favoured the tourist regions of the Eger region (14%), Greater Budapest (8%), and Budapest itself (9%). Budapest remained the most popular destination for foreigners, where 44% of all overnight stays were spent by them. This was followed in popularity by Greater Budapest (7%) and Debrecen and surroundings (7%). Under the provisions applicable in October, only citizens of the Visegrád Four countries were allowed to visit Hungary as tourists. Citizens of other countries, however, were allowed to enter for business, education or healthcare purposes. This is why the October data show that the most foreigners arrived from Ukraine, Germany, Romania, South Korea and Austria.

Of the 1.6 million overnight stays in October, 34% were spent in the 10 most popular locations.

Based on the number of nights spent last month, Budapest was followed by Hajdúszoboszló, Eger, Miskolc and Gyula. The top 10 locations also include Balatonfüred, Szeged, Hévíz, Zalakaros and Debrecen. Domestic tourists spent the most nights in all of the cities examined (80% on average); foreign tourists spent the most nights in Budapest, Debrecen and Szeged. 

Lake Balaton

Due in part to HTA’s autumn campaign, Balaton was still the most popular tourist region in October. 17% of all overnight stays were spent here in October. A total of 112 thousand guests used the services of accommodation providers in the Balaton region in October, spending a total of 274 thousand nights there. 63% of guests chose accommodation in hotels, 27% in other and private accommodation, and 6% at bed and breakfasts. Domestic guests continued to dominate the region in the past month: 97% of nights were spent by Hungarians. The locations most preferred by Hungarian guests according to the total number of nights spent there were, in decreasing order of popularity, Balatonfüred, Zalakaros, Hévíz, Siófok and Veszprém.

Budapest

A total of 53 thousand guests visited Budapest in October, registering 212 thousand overnight stays in the NTDSC; 44% of these were spent in hotels. Another 36% were spent in Budapest in other private forms of accommodation and 17% in community accommodation. As in September, the number of Hungarian tourists in October exceeded the number of foreigners in Budapest, which is mostly frequented by foreigners. 77% of all travellers to Budapest were Hungarians, who accounted for 60% of the nights spent.

Autumn break

Over the nine nights of the autumn break from 23 October to 1 November, a total of 267 thousand guests spent the night somewhere, which is 43% of the total for the month. Of the tourist regions, most guests visited the Balaton region (48 thousand, or 18%), 40 thousand visited the Eger region, and 21 thousand decided to visit Greater Budapest (8%). 39% of the total of 1.6 million guest nights spent in the month of October, equal to 618 thousand nights, were registered during the autumn break, making it clear that more people set out to explore the country than in earlier parts of the month.

After Budapest, the cities of Eger, Hajdúszoboszló, Miskolc and Gyula enjoyed the greatest popularity.

The average age of guests during the autumn break was 36. This is lower than in the preceding weeks of October, when the average guest was 41 years old. The drop in this value is in part due to the fact that, making use of the school break, more families with children opted to visit various regions of the country. The highest average age of 39 was recorded for the guests visiting Gyula region; the lowest was 34 for visitors to the Eger region, as well as in the Tokaj and Nyíregyháza region. The number of guests per room was higher during the autumn break than in earlier weeks of October, which is another sign that more families with children chose to spend their free time by booking accommodation in various parts of the country.

Long weekends

This year, almost all state and ecclesiastical holidays were linked with long weekends, ending up as a total of five occasions when the weekend was extended by one or two days: Easter, 1 May, Pentecost, and one each in August and October. As the stay-at-home rules were still in force for the long weekends in April and at the beginning of May, the data were very low, with accommodation service providers in Hungary being visited by only 10 and 11 thousand guests respectively. After the restrictions were lifted, the Pentecost weekend was the first when domestic tourism was able to pick up before the start of the summer season. 75 thousand guests spent the night at Hungarian accommodation locations over the long Pentecost weekend in May; the same figure was 346 thousand for the 20 August long weekend and 148 thousand for the 23 October long weekend; 94% of October guests were from Hungary.

Hotels were the most favoured form of accommodation over the October long weekend, with more than half of the guests choosing this option. These were followed by other and private forms of accommodation (33%) and bed and breakfasts (10%). Compared to other long weekends this year, the share of other and private accommodation was the lowest in October, which reflects the strong seasonality of this type of service. Their share of the guests was more than 40% on the other long weekends, even exceeding 50% on 1 May.

The effects of the summer season are also apparent in the distribution of guests over the long weekends. Over the 20 August weekend, the most guests visited Balaton region (39%), followed by the region of Debrecen and surroundings (7%) and the Eger region (7%). The share enjoyed by Balaton region over the 23 October weekend, however, dropped to 20% and that of the Eger region increased to 14% with regard to the distribution of guest numbers; Greater Budapest ended up as the third most popular region. In spring, the Pentecost long weekend showed similar percentages in the distribution of guests as in October, the three most popular destinations being the same as on the 23 October weekend. 

January-October, aggregated data

The aggregated data for the first ten months of the current year show that a total of 7.7 million guests stayed for a total of 21.5 million nights in Hungarian accommodation; 78% of guests were domestic. Hotels registered 3.7 million guests and 9 million overnight stays. Based on the aggregated data, 1.2 million guests had spent the night in Budapest accommodation venues for a total of 3.4 million nights by the end of October. In the first ten months of the year, 6.5 million guests stayed at accommodation outside of Budapest, spending a total of 18.1 million nights. During the whole period, 87% of all guests were Hungarian in locations outside of Budapest, the ratio being reversed in the capital, where 70% were guests from abroad.

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