The match between AS Roma, the defending UEFA Europa Conference League champion led by José Mourinho, and the record champion of the series, the Spanish Sevilla team, on May 31 will attract around 50,000 football fans to Budapest. In addition to the 15,000 fans of the two illustrious football clubs, several thousand representatives of professional organizations and journalists will come to the event. The Europa League final does not only provide a sporting experience, it is also significant in terms of tourist traffic and the country’s image. The National Tourist Information Center (NTAK) based on his information, more than 34,000 pre-bookings have already been registered by the accommodation providers in the capital, which is almost 35 percent higher than the booking data a week later.
Based on the NTAK data created by the Hungarian Tourism Agency, more than two-thirds of the guest night reservations in Budapest for the final night came from foreigners, and around 23,000 international guests have already arranged their accommodation for the match day. In the return matches of last week’s semi-finals, the Italian AS Roma and the Spanish Sevilla fought to reach the Europa League final, so the booking data from the two countries quickly increased. Based on the information sent to NTAK by domestic accommodation providers, around 4,100 tourists from Italy have already booked accommodation. They are followed by British, Spanish and German guests with more than 2,000 reservations each. More than half of the pre-bookings were registered in hotels, the majority of them preferred 4-star hotels, and a third chose 3-star accommodations.
Thanks to the NTAK, which has been operating since 2019, industry players can now get an accurate picture of changes in travel trends and the development of pre-booking numbers. Accordingly, from the NTAK data, it can be determined exactly to what extent the victory in the semi-final increased the desire to travel among Italians and Spaniards. After the semi-final on May 18, the number of pre-bookings in Budapest for the day of the final increased by 67 percent from Italy. Compared to the Italians, the Spanish guests are still slightly behind in this regard: compared to a week ago, a quarter more people have started to organize their trip. In the meantime, domestic guest night reservations in the capital also began to rise by nearly 10 percent.
According to NTAK data, many people may think that they are planning their visit to Budapest for more than just one day, since the pre-booking data for the day before the finals also jumped significantly. Compared to their plans at the beginning of May, twice as many, around 2,000 Italian guests, had already scheduled a city visit to the capital for the previous day, while the increase among Spaniards was almost 70 percent, with around 2,000 of them already booking accommodation for the day before the match. All of this clearly shows how significantly the EL final contributes to the market strengthening of Hungarian tourism and the businesses operating in it. In addition, the NTAK information related to the sports event greatly helps the Hungarian Tourist Agency to attract those who want to travel to our country with more precisely targeted international marketing campaigns than ever before.
“Sports tourism is one of the fastest growing tourism segments. Large-scale sports events such as the Europa League final or the World Athletics Championships in August are not only catalysts for domestic tourism, they also have significant power to shape the country’s image. Just think of the world-famous athletes with countless followers on social media or the huge fans who visit us, who all bring good news to Hungary after such an occasion. With their shares, they all personally tell us what an experience-filled and safe destination our country is. In addition, they are more likely to return later with their family and friends to discover our country not as fans, but as real tourists. That is why it is of particular importance that, on the initiative of the Hungarian Tourist Agency, an image film promoting Budapest will be shown on the projectors in the Puskás Arena and in the fan zones.Zsófia Jakab, the Marketing and Communications Director of the Hungarian Tourism Agency, pointed out in relation to the EL final. He added that MTÜ attracted fans from around Seville and Rome to Budapest with a targeted social media campaign already after the semi-finals.