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Teodóra Bán Teodóra Bán

Q & A with Teodóra Bán, Managing Director, Budapest Festival and Tourism Center

HAILED AS ONE OF EUROPE’S MOST ARCHITECTURALLY, HISTORICALLY AND CULTURALLY RICH DESTINATIONS, BUDAPEST CONTINUES TO ATTRACT MILLIONS OF TRAVELLERS YEAR AFTER YEAR AS TEODÓRA BÁN, MANAGING DIRECTOR,

BUDAPEST FESTIVAL AND TOURISM CENTER, REVEALS.

TRAVEL TRADE EUROPE: The closure of MALEV in 2012 prompted many to question the future of the Hungarian tourism industry. Yet, despite the challenges, Budapest continued to attract high volumes of travellers. What are the main reasons behind this?

TEODÓRA BÁN: […] Budapest [Ferenc Liszt International] Airport continues to be one of the main aviation gateways in the region.

The airport has served 10.3 million passengers in 2015, with a remarkable growth rate of 12.5 percent and [it] continues this trend this year, currently serving 96 destinations in 40 countries on three continents.

With an increase of flight frequencies by 10 airlines and the launch of nearly 20 new destinations, Budapest is also experiencing growth on a number of existing successful routes.

Budapest Airport has developed a very healthy airline mix from ultra-low-cost carriers to five-star Gulf airlines, catering to all possible age and income groups, ranging from young backpack tourists to business people from around the world.

While most major European cities could be reached at least by two airlines directly from Budapest, there are a series of long-haul carriers like Emirates, Qatar Airways, Air China, Air Transat and the latest newcomer Air Canada rouge connecting Hungary to the American continent and Asia.

Having invested over EUR325 million between 2007 – 2015 in a substantial upgrade and expansion programme, the showpiece SkyCourt passenger terminal is winning many awards for its design, efficiency and passenger experience.

The net results of the investments are already materialising with improved passenger ratings year-on-year and significant new airlines entering the market from 2014 onwards. […]

TRAVEL TRADE EUROPE: What are the organisation’s main priorities?

TEODÓRA BÁN: The main objectives of Budapest Festival and Tourism Center are the structuring of the Budapest brand and the development of the image of the capital of Hungary.

The two core activities of our office are the organisation of key cultural events, festivals and the support of the capital’s tourism services, as well as consistent development of the quality and supply of incoming and domestic tourism.

Our festival centre is in a privileged position in that it actually organises quality cultural events itself. Festivals spanning all four seasons represent both tourist attractions and cultural urban experiences. […]

TRAVEL TRADE EUROPE: Which are your main target markets and what characteristics of the capital are being highlighted?

TEODÓRA BÁN: The main target markets of interest are China, Italy, Germany, the UK and Russia. Primary target groups of our marketing campaigns include families with children, those looking for trend-leading venues, and people who place emphasis on quality leisure and culture.

Budapest is [also] one of the most favourite MICE destinations in Europe.

The Hungarian capital maintained its position as the 17th destination for association congresses [as per The International Congress & Convention Association’s list] and outranked such important conference venues like Stockholm, Sydney, Munich or Warsaw.

More than 1.2 million people arrived for MICE tourism purpose to Hungary in 2014 […] and their total spending reached HUF131.4 billion (EUR418.7 million).

Reasons to choose Budapest include easy access […], the city is also the spa capital of Europe, then cultural wealth, shopping options and […] competitive prices.

Based on the price-value conditions Hungary is still among the most reasonable destinations in Europe. It has well-developed infrastructure for conferences and incentives.

Deluxe and five-star hotels, well-skilled and knowledgeable guides, legendary art of cuisine and wines, Michelin star winner restaurants, widely varied, extraordinary venues.

Most of the famous sites and major hotels are in walking distance to each other.

The public transportation is also very well developed offering fast and nature-friendly ways to get around the city.

All major hotel brands can be found in Budapest and beyond to cater for conferences, corporate events and incentive trips.