On September 27, Debrecen hosted a number of activities for World Tourism Day. Service providers traditionally welcome incoming tourists with something special on this day each year. For example, the Lyceum hotel welcomed guests with hand made, Kalocsa patterned chocolate.

Visit Debrecen, the Tourism Body of Debrecen, also offered two interesting programs for visitors and locals in 2019. One program was a 1.5-hour sightseeing tour led by a member of the organization. The program included a lot of insider information about the city and was interesting not only for foreigners but also for locals. The other program was a city bike tour to highlight the fact that Debrecen is a cycling paradise, as all its sights can be easily discovered by bike.

However, what makes Debrecen different is that it will offer great programs not only on World Tourism Day but also on every day of the year. Gábor Gődény, Managing Director of VisitDebrecen Tourism Non-Profit Ltd. talks about the Tourism Strategy of the City of Debrecen for 2020 and beyond.

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Tourism Strategy of the City of Debrecen

Two years ago, the city set itself the goal of maximizing its tourism potential. The plan is in the works.

“On those days when there was a big event in the city in summer, Debrecen was full,” said the CEO in the interview with DTV.

“On the one hand, it is good news because it seems that big events here can appeal to tourists, and on the other hand, it is good that we, inhabitants, do not yet feel the phenomenon of over-tourism,” he added.

Tourism in Debrecen is sustainable and can be further developed.

“The flower carnival used to be a single day, but now it has become a two-week program, the Campus Festival, the Debrecen Wine and Jazz Days can also be extended for more days and cover a greater area. The moment over-tourism arises, the business community might see the opportunity and step in with new hotel investments”, says Gábor Gődény.

With its current capacity, Debrecen can still serve tourists well and for the long run.

The head of VisitDebrecen added that it is important to have as many events in the city as possible so that tourism doesn’t concentrate on a weekend. The city leaders are striving to have a program every weekend with the aim to spread demand throughout the year.

Debrecen As a Destination

According to the stats most visitors are still coming to Debrecen from Romania. They shop and consume culture but rarely spend more nights here. In the case of traditional markets such as Germany or Slovakia, it can be observed that the guests arrive for a longer period.

More and more people are coming to Debrecen with new flights, but here the timetable determines the time of stay.

“We have plans to sell Budapest with Debrecen. The reason behind it is that Budapest is physically full and there are many returning guests from Budapest looking for a “new Hungarian experience”. The breakout point for Debrecen is when somebody comes to Budapest, stays there for a few days, then comes to visit Debrecen on holiday, and then flies home from here.” stated the CEO.

It is very important to include Debrecen in this tourist flow so that not only Western Hungary can benefit from being considered a day trip destination.

The specialist explained that the tourism trends are changing globally and this needs to be taken into consideration. For example, climate change is making the weather sunny in England there for British travellers would rather go to Brighton for the sun rather than traveling aboard. From Western Europe short breaks are the order of the day, with each person taking shorter more frequent breaks.

Currently, there is no travel agency abroad that sells Debrecen as a product, however, VisitDebrecen is constantly negotiating with potential partners. The goal is to enable Western European countries to buy a “Debrecen package” including the hotel, airline ticket, hotel, spa, and museum tickets before traveling. This is the main goal of the next year’s strategy of VisitDebrecen.