The 40th Travel exhibition concluded a successful weekend. The greatest tourism event of Hungary was attended by nearly 30 thousand visitors from 2-5 March.
As Mr. Gábor Ganczer, CEO of Hungexpo C.Co. Ltd. explained: he is proud of the fact that - as in all other years - the exhibition managed to successfully mirror the change of Hungarian travel customs. With the rise in individual and online travel bookings, a growing number of countries, as well as Hungarian regions, cities, micro-regions and tourist attractions were represented at the Travel exhibition. Naturally, a number of travel agencies were also present at the event and sometimes it was hard to even get a copy of a catalog.
Over the span of four days, visitors at the HUNGEXPO Budapest Fair Center could browse from the offers of over 300 exhibitors from 23 countries.
The growing interest in the exhibition year after year shows the growth of tourism. As Mr. Péter Princzinger dr., Deputy CEO of the Hungarian Tourism Agency pointed out at the opening ceremony: the Hungarian tourism industry came to a turning point last year, the results of which will become visible this year. The sector's performance significantly increased since 2010: whilst there has been a 4% worldwide, and 2% European increase in travel, Hungary yielded an increase of 7%. All the significant figures of tourism have shown considerable growth, whilst both the domestic and international demand is increasing. The Deputy CEO added that despite the favorable numbers, there is still much to do, including the stimulation of conference tourism and the boosting of gastro-tourism which must be facilitated with the expansion of the elbow-room of market operators. Accordingly, they prioritized the distribution of developmental resources and are working on the renewal of the country brand and its more efficient international appearance.
Hungexpo C.Co. Ltd. strives to renew its exhibitions year after year, including its Travel exhibition which has enjoyed success for decades. One of the key elements of this is that apart from the continuously changing and expanding range of events on offer, from this year they placed a greater emphasis on the foreign guest of honor, which in this year was Russia. Fittingly, there was a great deal of interest in the Russian booth situated in the center of Hall A, where visitors could find out more about travel deals as well as what the country has to offer in relation to tourism, culture and gastronomy.
A key element of this year's Travel exhibition was the presentation of Győr, the host city of the European Youth Olympic Festival. As Mr. Zsolt Borkai, the city's mayor explained: tourism is one of Győr's key industries. Over the recent period, the city implemented infrastructural development in the value of HUF 40 billion. This year is of special significance as they will be hosting 3600 young adults from 50 countries at the Youth Olympics event.
In 2017, the exhibition's cultural guest of honor was the Pannonhalma Benedictine Abbey. In relation to this, archabbot Asztrik Várszegi explained that the doors to the city's monastery are open to all - faithful and non-believers as well. This year's slogan is the "shared house", featuring nearly 70 different events.
The Travel exhibition also has a special significance for the capital. The city's sights and cultural offers were displayed at a 200 square-meter booth, which – as Budapest deputy mayor Ms. Alexandra Szalay-Bobrovniczky explained – are under continuous development so the capital could keep up with the increasingly fierce international competition.
"Everyone here believes in Africa!" said Africa researcher Ms. Ildikó Szilasi at the opening ceremony of the 6th Africa Expo hosted simultaneously with the Travel exhibition. The significance of the Africa Expo is clearly shown by the fact that the ambassadors of a number of African countries – Morocco, Algeria, Angola, the South African Republic, and Sudan – participated at the opening event. Minister of National Development Mr. Miklós Seszták addressed the exhibition in a welcoming letter, pointing out - amongst other things - that the African continent offers great opportunities for foreign investors, including Hungarians.
There were a great number of African countries at the Travel exhibition, including Tunis with a beautiful booth, which can easily again become one of the most popular summer destinations for Hungarian families. The country is safe and the standards of quality are increasingly higher. The growing interest in the destination is also confirmed by tour operators. The Tunisian National Tourist Office and the Tunisian Embassy of Hungary is doing everything it can to support tour operators with programs in Tunis and increase the marketing activity targeted at increasing the country's popularity.
Meeting of the Trade
On the opening day of the event, Dr. Zoltán Somogyi's (UNWTO) trend report offered an international overview as well as highlighting the subject of tourism safety and subsequently discussing Hungary as a safe destination. The first day's series of professional lectures was concluded by a presentation on the tourism of the Subcarpathian region.
The professional events continued on the second day of the Travel exhibition, with the highlighted themes of health tourism, sport tourism, sporting events and their effect. Last Year's Tourism Summit series continued this year, as hosted by KKVHáz. Numerous sections dealt with current issues, such as the liability insurance of travel agencies and LMBTQ tourism. The lecture on Cambodia as a destination also attracted a great deal of attention. Over 1100 attendees registered for the professional events of the Travel exhibition.