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Tourism Hungary

Touristic regions

The Lake Balaton Region is the oldest holiday destination in Hungary. The lake itself is a particularly significant attraction for Hungary, a country with no access to the sea. The Lake Tisza Region is a recently established tourist destination. Tourism is a dominant economic sector in both areas, with a significant proportion of the local population being (over)dependent on its use (1).

Lake Balaton attracts approximately 1 million tourists each year, as well as day and weekend visitors. Registered tourists spend approximately 4 million nights around the lake annually. The peak season for tourism is short, comprising only eight weeks. Seasonality, therefore, puts pressure on the infrastructure, facilities and establishments around the lake for a short time and leads to poor economic prospects during the off-season (1).

During the last decades Lake Tisza has become a popular holiday destination, especially among Hungarian tourists. The Kisköre reservoir has attracted visitors since its completion, as it compared favourably with the crowded and expensive Lake Balaton, the traditional holiday site. As a result of this popularity the more appealing "Lake Tisza" name was suggested, general and tourism infrastructure has been developed, and the government has designated the area an official tourist destination. In 2001, nearly 60,000 guests spent approximately 300,000 nights at Lake Tisza (1).


In warm years, algae is a major concern in Lake Balaton, with eutrophication and blooms causing distress to beach users in late summer. Lake Tisza, as a shallow lake, is also threatened by eutrophication, though the problem has not been as serious as in the case of Lake Balaton. … The presence of algae in the water has various effects: green colouring as a visual effect, perceived low quality as an impact on visitors’ satisfaction, and the development of allergic symptoms in cases of sensitivity as a health impact. … While eutrophication is already a relatively serious problem in the case of Lake Balaton, it is more aptly characterised as a threat than a present danger in Lake Tisza (1).

Climate change lengthens the season as late spring and early autumn also become suitable for bathing, but at the same time July and August may be uncomfortably hot for tourists. Water quality is directly affected, particularly through eutrophication and by threatening the lakes' fish stock. … At the moment, the impacts brought about by climate change are partly negative, such as decreasing water quality and quantity, and partly positive, such as longer seasons and increased demand from city dwellers for water-based escapes (1).

From a comparison of the vulnerability of tourism in different regions of Hungary (2) it was concluded that the most vulnerable tourism-related activities are:

  • Outdoor event-based tourism in the Southern Great Plain region, in Southern Transdanubia and in the Northern Great Plain region
  • Winter sport tourism in Northern Hungary
  • Lake and river tourism at Lake Tisza
  • Non-motorized water tourism at Lake Tisza


The references below are cited in full in a separate map 'References'. Please click here if you are looking for the full references for Hungary.

  1. Rátz and Vizi (2004)
  2. Csete et al. (2013)