Minister of Innovation and Technology László Palkovics and Parliamentary State Secretary of the German Federal Ministry of Economics Thomas Bareiss discussed the opportunities for restarting Hungarian-German tourism at a meeting on 2 June, 2020.
They pointed out in their online discussion that Germany is Hungary's most important source market, and the number of German visitors to Hungary has increased by one-fifth in the last decade. According to the statement from the Ministry of Innovation and Technology, the number of privately organised trips is expected to pick up rapidly with the pandemic winding down and this may result in the re-strengthening of bilateral tourism relations.
Now, Péter Szijjártó, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, announced that restrictions regarding the fourteen-day self isolation when entering Hungary will not apply to people travelling from Germany. This will have significant advantages for the tourism sector at home.
The restriction easing came as a follow-up to talks between László Palkovics and Peter Altmaier, German Minister of Economic Affairs and Energy in May, with the participation of representatives of the Hungarian Tourism Agency. The total contribution of the tourism industry to the Hungarian GDP exceeded 10 percent last year, and the number of guest nights has increased by 60 percent since 2010.
In 2019, more than two million out of the total 31.3 million guest nights were spent by the 624 thousand German tourists visiting Hungary. It also contributed to this result that last year there were 179 flights every week reaching Hungary from the largest German cities.
The Minister also explained that the Hungarian government is injecting 600 billion forints of funding within the Economy Protection Scheme into the sector which was hit first and the hardest by the crisis, supporting tourism-related enterprises and investments by service providers. The payment of tourist tax has been suspended until the end of 2020, and a further 150 billion forints will be provided for development projects in the final phase of the Kisfaludy Scheme, aimed at the renovation of commercial lodgings in Hungary.
The parties also touched on issues related to the future and prospects of the automotive industry, which plays a fundamental role in the economies of both countries and in bilateral co-operation. Mr. Palkovics emphasised that the earliest possible recovery of the sector will be a priority during the restart of the economy after the pandemic, also in view of the sector’s extensive supply chains. The Hungarian Minister indicated that it might be worth considering setting a more sensible schedule for the introduction of strict environmental requirements for participants in the sector for the sake of preserving jobs.