As part of our Culture Roadshow for IBTM World 2022, we sat down with our finalists at the show to find out more about their destination, how the culture of their destination can inspire event planners and anything exciting coming up in 2023.
In this blog, we’re talking to Zsuzsa Szégner the International Relations Director at Visit Hungary.
How is culture important to your destination?
Culture is very important for us because we believe that the hosting atmosphere can contribute significantly to the quality of any business event. A vibrant and exciting city is a more attractive MICE destination, so the cultural offerings, along with the good infrastructure, are important factors when choosing a location.
With its high-level cultural capacity, well-kept locations, and new hotel openings, and thanks to the concentration in the same place of different attributes (culture, relaxation, spa treatments, luxury, gastronomy), Hungary has ideal venues for any type of event. There are high-quality conference rooms and meeting halls with big capacities. And if you are searching for a less traditional place, you can organize big-scale events on cruises, in museums, former churches, special historic buildings, or even a horse race or Formula 1 race track.
Do you have any specific new initiatives or projects on the way?
Our first-time visitors, or those who have not been to Hungary for more than 5 years, are usually stunned at the great variety of attractions and the quality of services.
Several important developments have been made that focus on providing distinctive experiences for visitors all around the country. After reaching 20,000 hotel beds in 2020, Budapest continues to increase its capacity. Currently, 10 new hotels are under construction, 3 in the Buda area and 7 in Pest, which would add 2,000 rooms to the total.
What sets your destination apart from the competition?
The warm hospitality of the Hungarians, and their love of cuisine, make every stay in Hungary an unforgettable experience for all the senses. Creative recipes, refined with high-quality ingredients, and friendly service meet in the country’s gastronomy and hold a lively mix of authentic and modern dishes in store for gourmets. Especially in recent years, Hungarian cuisine has been gripped by a true revolution. For some time now, Michelin-starred chefs have been making increasingly bold use of international techniques of top gastronomy and putting traditional dishes on their menus in a new interpretation. The restaurant scene, once dominated by traditional inns, is now enriched by top restaurants.
No other capital in the world has more hot-water springs with more than 100 thermal springs and wells, providing a unique source of thermal water. The city has several spas where history comes alive during the recreational experience. So, after an intense day full of meetings and official events, it is great to relax and refresh in one of our famous spas, which is located in the heart of the city.
How can your culture inspire event planners?
We have great, high-capacity venues where the environment itself is a unique cultural adventure. The most emblematic place of the Hungarian history, the Neo-Classical National Museum can host events with hundreds of people, and it can offer exclusive guided tours among the greatest historical masterpieces, too, combined with high-level gastronomical experience.
To name a few, I could mention the House of Music Hungary, which combines unique visual and sound experiences with architectural virtuosity bringing nature and art closer together with its interactive exhibitions.
Also, worth mentioning is the renovation of the Ethnographic Museum, which is one of the most modern ethnographic museum buildings in Europe with a roof garden of more than 7,000 square meters.
Royal Guard (Főőrség) offers a modern restaurant and café in a historic setting, a cosy atmosphere, quality gastronomy and a fascinating educational experience. Its exhibition space is also suitable for extraordinary history lessons for school groups. The picturesque Royal Guard building can host a wide range of events. Entering the building, you will see the grand and elegant riding hall which, with 640 square metres of floor space and nearly 15 metres of ceiling height, can provide an exceptional venue for large-scale corporate events, conferences, exhibitions or even balls.
How has being a part of the IBTM Culture Roadshows supported your brand this past year?
We are delighted to have been one of the selected applicants for the Cultural Roadshow. It gave us the opportunity to give the participants at IBTM World a taste of Hungarian culture in an engaging way. The idea behind our participation in the competition was to show the 360-degree experience our capital can offer. I’m confident that the content presented during the campaign has inspired many potential event organizers and partners to have a deeper understanding of Hungarian culture.