The flow of Chinese tourists to Hungary experienced a significant increase in the first seven months of this year, almost quadrupling compared to the same period last year.
At the same time, the capital city of Hungary, Budapest, emerged as the top choice for Chinese visitors, attracting the largest number of tourists.
In March of this year, after nearly three years of strict restrictions related to COVID-19, the Hungarian authorities welcomed the first group of a total of 22 tourists from China at the Budapest airport.
According to AboutHungary, a website managed by the Hungarian Prime Minister’s international communication office, the picturesque towns of Szentendre, located on the outskirts of the capital, and Pécs, located in the southwest, also enjoyed great popularity among Chinese travellers.
The website asserts that TV programs that highlight Hungary have played an essential role in stimulating the interest of Chinese tourists.
A prime example of Hungary’s growing popularity among Chinese tourists is the reality show Chinese Restaurant, filmed in Budapest during the summer months of June and July this year. The first episode of this show gathered a viewership of over 160 million people within the initial week of its launch, and it featured Budapest’s attractions and Hungarian gastronomy.
“Thanks to the series, millions of people can see iconic tourist spots in Hungary, such as the Hungarian State Opera House, the Danube riverside, Buda Castle, or Gödöllő Palace… Moreover, it’s a tremendous opportunity for Hungarian gastronomy to be featured in the show,” Deputy CEO for Marketing and Communication at MTÜ Zsófia Jakab told Hungarian Conservative last month.
The latest statistics reveal that there has also been an increase in South Korean tourists, with their number quadrupling during the seven months of this year.
In terms of demographics, the 25-44 age group has played an important role in shaping the composition of visitors. In South Korea, this age group accounted for 52 per cent of visitors, while in the case of China, it accounted for 63 per cent of tourists.
Hungary also experienced a 35 per cent increase in the number of tourists from the United States.
American tourists spend roughly one and a half times more than average, while South Korean travellers spend nearly ten per cent more than average during their visits.
Regarding accommodation choices, hotels emerged as the preferred option for tourists from the US, China, and South Korea, representing 65-70 per cent of visitors. This preference extended to four-star hotels chosen by one in two travellers. However, only a quarter of guests chose private or alternative accommodation during their stay.
In July 2023, Hungarian Tourism Agency CEO Péter Horváth revealed that guest nights saw a four per cent increase, reaching a total of 12.2 million from January to May 2023.
As Horváth explains, Italian watches almost doubled from the beginning of the year to the end of May, while visitors from Israel and Poland saw an increase of nearly 50 per cent. Germany also contributed to the positive trend, with a third of the rise in visitors.