Hungary saw record-breaking numbers of travellers in 2018, the National Tourism Agency has revealed, based on figures just released by the Central Statistics Office. In 2018, commercial lodgings around Hungary registered 12.5 million guests, an increase of more than 5% when compared to 2017.
Official figures show a record of nearly 31 million guest nights over the course of 2018, an increase by more than one million in comparison with the previous year. Of these, almost 50% were foreign. The two most popular destinations were Budapest and Lake Balaton.
Events and attractions such as the Sziget music festival, the Hungarian Grand Prix and Christmas markets have pushed Budapest up among the most popular cities in Europe. Last week, the Hungarian capital was named Best European Destination for 2019, ahead of London, Paris and Barcelona.
Next December, the rebuilt national Ferenc Puskás Stadium will open, and is due to welcome hundreds of thousands of visitors for the Euro 2020 football tournament the following June. In 2023, Budapest will also host the World Athletics Championships, for which another stadium is being built.
As tourist numbers soar in Hungary, Budapest Airport has announced further investment plans, including the construction of a new terminal building by 2024. The airport also registered a double-digit rise in passenger numbers for 2018. Under the BUD+ development programme also just revealed, passenger services, including baggage handling, security and terminal amenities, will be modernised.
A proposed rail connection between the airport and the city centre is in the pipeline while construction of a new multi-storey car park outside the terminal has been put on hold as plans are yet to be finalised.