The number of tourists visiting Hungary to participate in running events such as marathons has more than tripled in the past decade, daily Vilaggazdasag said on Tuesday, citing figures from the government commissioner for an active Hungary and the Budapest Sport Office.
Nearly 25,000 foreigners ran in three large Budapest events last year, the Telekom Vivicitta City Protection Run, the Wizz Air Budapest Half Marathon and the SPAR Budapest Marathon, as against only 8,000 in 2007, the paper said.
The number of guest nights and the money spent by runners visiting Hungary has also increased significantly, the paper added. The former exceeded 80,000 last year as against 21,000 in 2007, and the latter totalled 4 billion forints (EUR 12.3m) last year as against 600 million forints in 2007.
Budapest Sport Office managing director Arpad Kocsis told the paper that Hungary was competing with the Czech Republic for first place in the region when it comes to running tourism.
Last year, runners came to Hungary from ninety countries. The highest number was from the UK, followed by France, Germany, Italy, Slovakia and the US. Kocsis said the number of foreign runners is expected to increase by 5-10 percent this year.