HTZ Hungary Director: Croatia is Top Pick for Hungarians Wanting to Travel Abroad

Daniela Rogulj

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May 4, 2020 – Ivana Herceg of the Croatian National Tourist Board (HTZ) Office in Hungary talks about the potential of Hungarian tourists this summer.

More than half of the Hungarian population are preparing to travel, according to a survey commissioned by the Hungarian Travel Agency, which was sent to HRTurizam by the Croatian National Tourist Board (HTZ) Representative Office in Budapest.

The survey was conducted between April 8 and 15 on a sample of more than two thousand people and asked if they planned to travel after the coronavirus pandemic, and if so, where.

Survey data revealed that after the virus disappears, 51 percent of Hungarians plan to travel within Hungary, and 12 percent of those surveyed plan to travel abroad.

When it comes to traveling abroad, the most popular destinations are Croatia and Greece, while in Hungary, Hungarians would travel an average of 227 kilometers and would like an active vacation.

Two-thirds of those surveyed currently plan to avoid organized travel after the pandemic. Also, another factor that can help Croatia, is that according to the poll, 61% of respondents will consider which countries were most affected by the virus for their future trip.

On this topic, as well as expectations for this summer season with the Hungarian market, Goran Rihelj of HRTurizam spoke with Ivana Herceg, director of the Croatian National Tourist Board Representative Office in Hungary, who points out that Croatia, in the eyes of the Hungarians, is justifiably one of the safest destinations. In these special circumstances, our advantages are even more pronounced over the competition.

The fact that Hungarians know our country well and that many of them are “permanent guests” of certain accommodation providers will surely play an important role in choosing this year’s destination for their vacation, Herceg points out, adding that the Hungarian media monitors the situation in neighboring countries. “Croatia is always mentioned as a positive example and in case travel is possible we believe that a part of the Hungarian population will traditionally choose Croatia.”

According to currently available data, the situation in Hungary (2942 cases and 335 fatalities) is slightly worse than in Croatia. Asked what the current epidemiological situation in Hungary is “from the inside” and what are the announcements regarding loosening measures in Hungary, Herceg points out that Hungary is lower than the European average for the number of patients.

“Given a population more than double than in Croatia, it is expected that there will be more infected people. Hungary has tested more than 70,000 people and at the moment, the death toll is 31 per million inhabitants. This number is higher than in Croatia, and compared to the rest of the world, it is the average number of deaths. According to the Hungarian map of the number of infections, the majority are in Budapest. Still, the western and southern parts of Hungary, along the border with Croatia, are below average in terms of the number of patients. Contrary to the situation in other European countries, the measures are still in force in Hungary, even being tightened, making it mandatory to wear a mask on public transport and shops, in markets and on visits to institutions from Monday, April 27. The Prime Minister announced a new security situation on May 3, and until that date, you could only leave homes for shopping and personal needs and going to work. However, you were not allowed to leave your place of residence.”

As far as travel is concerned, the entire tourism sector is eagerly awaiting new information, especially after the first signings on the so-called “Tourist corridors”. It is not yet known when the borders will open and which protocol will be in place when entering another country. However, it is a European Union level travel protocol, and each country will negotiate independently with its neighbors through bilateral relations. So too is Croatia, and talks have already begun with Slovenia, the Czech Republic and other countries.

There is interest in Croatia in Hungary, both according to the above survey and according to Herceg. “In contact with partners in the tourism sector, but also in the interest of the media, we can conclude that there is an interest in Croatia, as indicated by a survey commissioned by the Hungarian Tourism Organization (MTÜ). According to the survey, 51 percent of Hungarians will travel after the pandemic within Hungary, and 12 percent of respondents will travel abroad. Among foreign destinations, Croatia was the most frequent answer, along with Greece. The results of some other studies show even greater interest in Croatian destinations, which is expected because Hungarians are incredibly fond of Croatia, which is easily accessible by car, and because a large number of Hungarians own real estate and ships in Croatia.”

At the end of last year and the beginning of this year, the interest of Hungarians in Croatia increased, which is certainly a good indicator of Croatia’s position in Hungary.

“At the beginning of the year, it seemed that this would be another record year for Croatian tourism. In January and February, we achieved growth from the Hungarian market, after many years Croatia and Hungary had to be connected by airline and new itineraries of the largest Hungarian tour operators were in preparation. During April and May, we planned to implement several prepared activities, which we had to cancel, which were to promote different products and different parts of Croatia. Travel agencies still mainly deal with cancellations and refunds, but according to some partners, bookings for Croatia are canceled less than in other countries.”

Although it is difficult to predict, in the event this slows down and borders open in the next two months, Herceg believes that Croatia could still be the first choice of most Hungarians.

“This is supported by its proximity, possibility to travel by car, and a quick return in case of any problems, but also the fact that the Hungarians know our country well, consider it safe and feel welcome. The fact that a large number of Hungarians stay in private accommodation during their stay is also positive in this situation, compared to competing countries, which mainly offer accommodation in hotels. We also support information from individual partners who have informed us that guests are looking to change destinations and that instead of Greece, for which they have already paid, they want to swap for Croatia,” Herceg concludes.

To read more about travel in Croatia, follow TCN’s dedicated page.


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