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Hungarians ditch holiday plans amid soaring inflation

A man steers his SUP board during sunset at the Lake Balaton in Fonyod, Hungary, Tuesday, July 27, 2021
A man steers his SUP board during sunset at the Lake Balaton in Fonyod, Hungary, Tuesday, July 27, 2021 Copyright Gyorgy Varga/MTI - Media Service Support and Asset Management Fund
Copyright Gyorgy Varga/MTI - Media Service Support and Asset Management Fund
By Zoltan Siposhegyi
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An Opinio survey commissioned by Euronews revealed that 41% of Hungarians are not planning a holiday this year. Others are finding alternative solutions to avoid rising costs.

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In Hungary, temperatures and inflation are on the rise - and that's hitting the tourist industry hard.

To cool off, Hungarians like to take a dip in Lake Balaton, the largest in Central Europe.

In the lakeside town of Badacsontomaj, long queues form outside restaurants, despite the price increases.

But in recent weeks, the Hungarian press reported that high costs had led to a 30% drop in local consumer traffic in June. Others argue that the weather was to blame.

"We also had strange weather in June," said Péter Vincze, a member of Balaton Circle NGO. "It rained almost every weekend."

A room near the beach can cost up to €320 per night, and a meal can cost €26 per person.

"I'd like to protest a little against the over-pricing," said Tamás Flesch, the president of a Hungarian hotel association. "The three most important factors - energy costs, labour costs and raw material costs - have risen so much. But businesses are not raising their prices in line with inflation."

An Opinio survey commissioned by Euronews revealed that 41% of Hungarians are not planning a holiday this year.

Most of them say they can't afford to go away, with older people, in particular, choosing to stay at home. Others are finding alternative solutions to save money.

"We bring sandwiches, sweets, and snacks in a cooler. So we don't really buy anything here, just ice cream," one tourist told Euronews.

For Hungarians, Lake Balaton is still the Riviera. And, with coolers or holiday homes, tourists can limit the impact of current inflation - meaning space might remain at a premium on Balaton's beaches this summer.

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