«The conurbation around the capital located on both sides of the middle section of the Danube is a metropolitan area of international importance while ...»
Despite the high level of guest traffic, length of stay is bellow the national average but the region accounts for the highest rate of accommodation utilisation capacity in the country. Shorter length of stay is all the less obvious because the most popular international cultural and sports events take place in Budapest (Spring Festival, Formula-1, European- and World Championships, etc.) and the Budapest International Fair also attracts huge masses of people. Higher-scale developments are now being realised outside of Budapest as well.
Fejér county is one of the most developed counties in Hungary with a central location, a diverse natural environment, a rich palette of beautiful cultural values and a relatively well-developed 9 infrastructure. At the same time, tourism could go a long way in resolving or easing existing problems and could contribute to the implementation of the overall development objectives of the county. The county is easily accessible by every means of transport, the overall transportation network can be considered good (although road density falls short of the EU average). The M6 and M8 dual carriageway roads and the new Danube-bridge strengthen both horizontal and vertical connections in national as well as international terms (with Austria, Slovenia and Croatia).
Both Lake Velence and the Danube provide favourable opportunities for waterside holidays, water sports and angling.
Sárvíz and the inner lakes are also excellent places for the latter activity. The Northern and – to a smaller extent – Southern parts of the county as well as the Sárvíz valley connecting the two accommodate a substantial amount of landscape in nature-like condition that would provide good potential material for the development of eco-tourism.
The population is well-known for their hospitability and openness in participating in the tourism industry are the most important assurances that tourism development efforts will be appreciated.
Typical features of tourism activity in Fejér county are: excursions, sightseeing tours and an extremely strong seasonality factor.
Bács-Kiskun county is the largest county of Hungary in the Great Plain, bordered by the Danube from the West and the Tisza from the East. Due to its vicinity to the border and its location in terms of transportation-geography, the county accounts for a high rate of transit traffic. The county is actually a central area of the country, and as such, serves as a starting location towards any other region of Hungary. The primary means of tourism transportation in the county is by road: the M5 Motorway, which is an integral part of the Trans-European Motorway (TEM), the E75 Main Road, as well as the East-West Dual-carriage Way Roads in the pipeline (M9, M44) and the Danube-bridges (Szekszárd, Dunaújváros).
The county’s attractions spring mainly from its natural values.
10 Its natural fauna consists of puszta plant associations, sand and floodplain forests. The number of surface waters – excluding bordering rivers – is rather low, out of the former saline lakes only those with a continuous permanent or temporary water supply have survived. The majority of area of the exceptionally beautiful Danube floodplains is covered by forests and still holds the remains of the former riverside hardwood forests. Both its soil and its plant associations show great diversity. Its medical and thermal waters are of national and international appeal. The county’s tourism potentials are considered to be favourable, considering the – compatible or possibly compatible on the international market – product groups highlighted in the national strategy (medical tourism/wellness; holidays; active tourism; cultural and heritage tourism; rural tourism, as well as gastronomy and wine tourism;
congress, business and incentive tourism [MICE]). The county has positive development potentials with respect to nearly all these priority products.
Tolna county lies where the Alföld (Great Plain) and the Transdanubian Hills meet, it is one of the smallest counties in Hungary. The economy of the county is dominated by the three 11 biggest towns – Dombóvár, Paks and Szekszárd – which lie in three different corners of the county. Paks and Szekszárd play an important role in a densely populated part of the county along the Danube River, and due to the bridge across the river at Szekszárd, this impact is felt in the Great Plain too.
The main tourist attractions of Tolna county are the GermencGyulaj wildlife reserve within the Danube-Dráva National Park and the fishing sites in the oxbows of the Danube. The natural assets in the region are partly a basis for developing eco-tourism and partly exploited by hunting tourism. There are natural and artificial waters and beaches (by the Danube, the Sió Channel and natural and artificial lakes) as well as thermal and therapeutic waters, which offer numerous possibilities for holidaymakers through water sports, fishing, bathing etc. We find here the historical Szekszárd wine region and several architectural and other sights linked to wine-making. The characteristic Sárköz culture and collections featuring its cultural values, the built heritage, rich folk traditions, the outstanding ethnographic heritage, the strong and close ties of the large minority population with the mother country are a good basis for raising the international profile of the area.
12 Almost 60% of Hungary’s tourism is absorbed by Budapest and the three counties by the Lake Balaton. The other 16 counties receive 40% of the total volume. For Baranya this means that its current share of 3.7% cannot be expected to change in the near future.
As an important hub of South Transdanubia, Baranya plays a dominant role in the non-Balaton-related tourism of the region, but its tourism traffic is much lower than in the counties bordering Lake Balaton. It also offers a large number of potentially accessible guests for the lakeside tourist destinations. Following Budapest and the top four counties bordering Lake Balaton, Baranya county has a stable position as an above average county in terms of guest nights.
The characteristic tourist attractions of the region are amply present in Baranya county too (varied natural sites, meeting of different eras and cultures, ethnic diversity). The county possesses attractions of international significance in all three of the categories mentioned above. Among the attractions we find the DanubeDráva National Park, therapeutic and thermal waters, the lakes of Orfű, and in the category of cultural heritage the county boasts the Early-Christian Necropolis of Pécs (and the World Heritage Site application), the architecture of the Turkish era, the Benedictian abbey and fortress of Pécsvárad, the gastronomic and wine culture, which has a characteristic ethnic background that links up several other tourism products. Pécs and the historical sites of the county, as well as its thermal spas, folk culture and living folk art rank among the prime attractions of Hungary. There are also many secondary attractions (churches, folk traditions, artisans, hunting, fishing and other water-related attractions), which are situated sporadically, due to a settlement network characterised by small villages. The utilisation of these attractions in the framework of a product package developed for promoting tourism, could provide a living for the communities concerned and entrepreneurs in the area.
In tourism the main contours of the county are given by Pécs (Cultural Capital of Europe in 2010) and Harkány, which have the
The structure of accommodation In 2008 the number of available accommodation in the Danube area came close to 9 000, which represents a share of 18 % of all the available accommodation in the country. The capacity in the area is 2 guests per 1000 inhabitants, which is less than half of the national average (5). This is an indication of how insufficient the capacities are in the Danube area.
The number of available accommodation in the Danube counties comes close to 140 thousand, which represents a share of 26 % of all the available accommodation in the country. Regional distribution of available accommodation per 1000 inhabitants is
14 Baranya with 61 places available, Győr-Moson-Sopron with 35, Komárom-Esztergom with 34 and Tolna county with 33 places have the most favourable indicators. These figures compare with the national average of 53 and the Danube area average of 26. The number of available accommodation in Pest county (9 places) is the worst in the area because of its high population density the capacity per 1000 inhabitants.
The breakdown by types of available accommodation shows that 24% of accommodation in the Danube area belong to the category of are private lodgings. More than half of commercial accommodation, which represents 76% of all accommodation, is provided by hotels, mainly because of their great number in the capital city, although their proportion is also considerable in Pest and Győr-Moson-Sopron counties. However, the number of hotel accommodation is low in Komárom-Esztergom, Fejér, Bács-Kiskun and Baranya county. In the commercial accommodation category the camp sites represent over 21%, their proportion is rather high in Fejér, Komárom-Esztergom and Baranya county.
In 2008 the number of guests visiting the Danube area exceeded 4 200 thousand, a figure which amounts to some 50% of all guests coming to the country. It is important to highlight that Budapest was responsible for over 60% of this figure. The proportion of foreign guests in the Danube area is 63%, but this can be clearly attributable to the capital city. Excluding Budapest this value is only 29%.
The number of guest nights in proportion to the number of guests enables us to come to a conclusion regarding the average duration of stay of the guests. It is 2.5 days in the Danube area, which lags somewhat behind the national average (3.1 days). This short duration of stay is characteristic of weekend tourism, which is something that accommodation providers increasingly introduce into their marketing strategy in the form of special promotions for weekends and holiday packages. In terms of regional distribution no real difference can be discerned, only Baranya county reaches
• Prosperous area of high social and entrepreneurial potentials
• Special and effective adjustment and survival strategies
• Extensive municipal co-operation at domestic and international levels
• The Danube and its system of branches and islands, oxbows, waters as well as the richness of their habitats
• Large mountain forests, scenic areas for ramblers
• The Danube Bend as a traditional tourist destination
• Strategic water resources, rich thermal assets
• Mosaic-like land-use and diverse landscape structure
• World-famous stock of big game
• Urban centres rich in cultural heritage sites
• Diverse cultural traditions (ancient trades, gastronomy, ethnic folklore)
• Large number of traditional wine districts
• Well-known (international) farms
• Diverse regional products (berries, paprika etc.)
• The nearness of Budapest as a tourist market
• Good accessibility of the services provided in Budapest
• The Danube is Europe’s most significant waterway, as well as a Trans-European transport corridor, developing network of ports
• The availability of transport lines parallel with the Danube
• Advanced conditions for air transport, small airports
• Area of low profitability and low capacity to retain the population (southern micro-regions) 16
• Shortcomings of education and training (South)
• No command of languages in the rural areas
• Unrecultivated and inadequately used quarry lakes
• Damaged landscape of abandoned raw material deposits
• Water quality problems, polluted river beaches
• Strips of industrial sites linked together along the banks of the Danube
• Inorderly and crowded recreational areas with holiday homes linked together
• Congestion, air and noise pollution at the access roads to Budapest
• The danger of flooding in a large area despite the flood protection works due to growing extremities
• Salient anthropogenic environmental loads
• Contradictions of the demand for freight shipping and ecological and tourist requirements
• Lack of lead products in tourism and image
• Insufficient level of high-quality accommodations 17
• Bad information supply
• Areas with inadequate services, low level of entrepreneurial activities
• The absence of complex tourist programme packages
• Under-utilised tourist potential
• Compared to the demand, there are few ports built for tourism purposes
• The absence of a contiguous cycle network
• Shortcomings of crossing facilities
• Underdeveloped suburban communal transport
• The deficiencies and inferior quality of roads between settlements, in the inner and outer administrative areas of settlements
• Radial rail network centred around Budapest
• Many communities with no sewage system
• Areas underdeveloped in transport
18 the Danube
• Increased appreciation of the local characteristic features and traditions
• Improving domestic tourism (holiday vouchers, multiple journeys)
• Growing demand for water tourism and related forms of tourism
• Improved accessibility of underdeveloped areas in terms of transport
• Spread of the electronic forms of the access to information
• The motorway network is being built continuously
• Frequent occurrence of extreme weather conditions due to climate change;
• Increased water and air pollutions (domestic and cross-border),
• Development plans disregarding social, economic and environmental correlations;
• The prominence of navigation interests over ecological considerations;
• Overloading and overdevelopment in sensitive areas, growing urbanisational environmental noxiousness,
• Damage to valuable strategic water resources,
• Tourist traffic (local solvent demand and foreign demand) is declining or being further concentrated;