Hungary's tourism wins silver among top European destinations

The number of international tourist arrivals in Hungary grew by 17.5% in the first half of 2015, over four times more than the world average, according to the latest report by the World Tourism Organization. No other Central European country posted growth on a similar scale.

In order to maintain this outstanding achievement and to counter the negative reports connected with the migrant crisis, Hungarian Tourism Ltd. has launched a new online portal in English called www.friendlyhungary.com. The public photoblog aims to give a true picture of Hungary in 2015 through the eyes of visiting foreign and Hungarian tourists.

Among the major European destinations in international tourism, Hungary posted the second highest growth in the number of international tourist arrivals in the first half of 2015. According to the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) report for August 2015 (World Tourism Barometer), the number of international tourist arrivals grew by 4% in the world, 5% in Europe, 6% in the Central and Eastern European region, and 17.5% in Hungary in the first half of 2015. This is over four times more than the world average, over three times the European average and almost three times the regional average.

No other Central European country posted growth on a similar scale: the increase in the number of international tourist arrivals in the same period was 7.9% in the Czech Republic, 10.3% in Slovakia and 7% in Austria.

Hungary's results already proved to be outstanding in last year's report for the whole year, achieving growth of 13.7%, while there was an overall decline of 5.6% in the region of Central and Eastern Europe in 2014.

The UNWTO figures tally with the data of the Central Statistical Office (CSO), according to which in the first half of 2015 the number of foreigners visiting Hungary as tourists (8.7 million people) grew by 17.6% compared to the first half of 2014 and their spending grew by 12.3%, exceeding HUF 510 billion. The number of foreign tourists coming to Hungary for more than one day increased even more dynamically by almost 21% and totalled over 5 million people. Their spending rose by 10.6% compared to the first half of 2014 and exceeded HUF 467 billion. The number of people coming for just one day was 3.7 million, which was also up on the figure for the same period of the previous year by 13.6%. The amount spent by tourists coming for one day grew the most dynamically, by 34%, approaching HUF 43 billion.

The aim of Hungarian Tourism Ltd. is to ensure the continued steady growth of tourism in Hungary and to make it more balanced both in time and geographically. In 2014 the number of guests grew in all tourist regions and this is also true of July 2015 according to the latest CSO figures.

Friendly Hungary

The negative reports and scaremongering connected with the migrant crisis may harm Hungary's good reputation and for this reason Hungarian Tourism Ltd. has launched an online portal in English called friendlyhungary.com. Hungarian Tourism Ltd. believes that a genuine answer to pictures can only be given by pictures, which are worth more than a thousand words. The photoblog friendlyhungary.com was created to give a clear and realistic picture of Hungary in 2015. The genuineness of the portal is guaranteed by the fact that usually a selection of the recently uploaded public photos taken by visiting foreign and Hungarian tourists appears. The website can be accessed by clicking on friendlyhungary.com from 18 September.

Hungary remains a safe, peaceful and friendly destination which is a worthwhile and pleasurable place to visit. Hungarian Tourism Ltd.'s aim is to show the country's special beauty, magic, traditions and history to millions of people. The friendlyhungary.com website mainly targets foreigners as it offers a collection point where not only photos taken by Hungarian Tourism Ltd. appear but mostly photos made public by tourists visiting Hungary from around the world by uploading them on the Internet. The strength of the public photoblog lies in the fact that visitors to the website can always see the latest images, which are just a few hours or days old, of the squares and streets, sights and transport nodes of Hungary and Budapest.

Enjoy the photos.