logo of Hungary ministerylogo of Hungary ministery

Hungary is a modern European country steeped in history, with a beautiful capital city and rich in exceptional natural resources and sites. Whether it is the country’s strong folk culture, spas, lakes and thermal baths, the cowboys of the “puszta”, the beautiful Parliament building, the spicy and hearty cuisine favouring paprika and the sparkling life of the capital, Budapest, in Hungary you are guaranteed to find authentic, impulsive and profound experiences. In 2017 Hungary welcomed almost 16 million international tourist arrivals, 50% more than in 2010, demonstrating the steady growth of tourism in the country backed by consistent policy support. The Hungarian Tourism Agency is responsible for the national management and coordination of tourism.

WTD 2018 HungaryIn late 2017, Hungary launched the National Tourism Development Strategy 2030 to guide its plans for sustainable long-term tourism development, after consultation with a range of Hungarian tourism stakeholders. By 2030, the country plans to invest EUR 2.7 billion to strengthen its sports, culture and nature tourism offerings, as well as increase tourism’s share of national GDP from 10% to 16% and its number of employees from 364,000 to 450,000.

UNWTO is delighted to partner with the Hungarian Tourism Agency and Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade to hold the official celebration of World Tourism Day 2018 in Budapest. The city’s spice derives from its vitality and effervescence, and the versatile way Hungarians use it; the Castle District as a wine festival venue, the Liberty bridge as a picnic spot and the Jewish District as a ruin pub area. With its captivating history, world-class culture and heritage, wide-ranging gastronomy and flourishing fashion scene, Budapest is a classical European capital committed to the digital future – the perfect stage for this year’s celebration of tourism.


Host and accommodation

Visa requirements for Hungary

Practical Information




Wednesday, 26 September 2018
16:00 - 18:30h Training for Startups 

19:00 - 21:00h

Welcome Reception  ( invitation only)

  • Zurab Pololikashvili, Secretary-General, UNWTO
  • Representative of Hungary (tbd) 
  • Alexandra Szalay-Borovniczky, Deputy-Mayor, Municipality of Budapest
Thursday, 27 September 2018

09:00 - 09:30h

Opening & Welcome

  • Zurab Pololikashvili, Secretary-General, UNWTO
  • Representative of Hungary
  • Gloria Guevara, President and CEO, The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC)

09:30 - 09:45h

Keynote Speech

09:45 – 10:30h

What are Venture Capitalist looking for when investing in Innovative Tourism Products?

To drive innovation in tourism, product development requires access to a strong investment environment and organizations need to understand what Venture Capitalists look for when investing in Innovative Tourism Products. This panel will discuss the variables that are most pertinent to top investors.

Moderated: Natalia Bayona, Senior Expert, UNWTO

  • Miguel Barbosa, Investment Director, Portugal Ventures
  • Victor Chua, Founding & Managing Partner, Vynn Capital
  • Mario Hardy, CEO, PATA
  • Gellert Jaszai, President-CEO / president, Konzum Private Equity / Hunguest Hotels Zrt
  • Florian Mesny,founder and CEO,
  • Mercè Tell, General Partner and co-founder, Nekko Capital
  • Julián Vinué, Director, Wayra, Barcelona

10:30 - 11:15h

Start-up Competition I: Innovative Solutions for a Smarter, more Competitive and more Responsible Tourism for all
The 1st UNWTO Tourism Startup Competition will be the driving force for tourism startups to scale-up operations and grow internationally by providing the needed platform for the most disruptive innovators in tourism to connect with the world’s top global investors and supporting business partners.
Following the global call for startup applications, the 20 most disruptive runner ups will pitch their idea to a jury of tourism leaders, including top global investors.
The jury will then select 10 finalists who will receive sponsorship to compete within the framework of the 2019 edition of FITUR (Spain International Tourism Fair, 23-29 January 2019, Madrid, Spain) for the ultimate prize of launching a pilot project with Globalia.

11:15 - 11:45h Coffee Break

11:45 – 12:30h

Unlocking the Potential of Tourism through Open Innovation – the Importance of Fostering Innovation and Entrepreneurship Ecosystems

An innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem and a dynamic environment where actors work together as a unit, are a precondition for tourism to remain competitive and grow sustainably. Each panellist represents one of the actors of this ecosystem.

  • Martin Barth, President & CEO, World Tourism Forum Lucerne
  • Karoly Gerendai, Managing Director/ Owner, Sziget Kft. / Costes restaurants
  • Sérgio Guerreiro, Senior Director, Knowledge Management and Innovation, Turismo de Portugal
  • Kemel Kharbachi, CEO, Ágora Next
  • Luis Martín, CEO; Barrabés
  • Lisandro Menu Marque, International Development Director, Globalia
  • Jack Rumble, Head of Strategy, The Baobab Network
12:15- 13:15h Start-up Competition II: Innovative Solutions for a Smarter, more Competitive and more Responsible Tourism for all
13:15 - 14:30h Networking Lunch 

14:30 – 15:00h

The Role of Technology in Sustainable Tourism
This session will explore how big data, digital platforms, artificial intelligence and other technological systems are facilitating the implementation of products, services and processes that ultimately contribute tourism’s transformation into a more sustainable sector. These technologies help organizations and destinations gain valuable insights in modern tech savvy tourists to make the tourism sector smarter, more competitive and more sustainable. This panel of tourism leaders will explore the challenges and opportunities that technology presents for sustainable tourism.

  • Laszlo Konyid, CEO / President, Hotel Európa Fit / Hungarian Association of Hotels and Restaurants
  • Diana Robino, Senior Vice-President, Travel Industries, Enterprise Partnerships, MasterCard
  • Iis P. Tussyadiah, President of the International Federation for Information Technology and Travel/Tourism (IFITT)
  • Mark Bolan, Regional Manager EMEA, TripAdvisor
  • Valentijn van Gastel, Booster Specialist, Booking
15:00 – 15:45h Start-up Competition II: Innovative solutions for a Smarter, more Competitive and more Responsible Tourism for all

15:45 –16:15h

BigData in Tourism

Big Data is key to unlocking the potential of the tourism sector and to manage destinations in a more efficient way. This session between leaders in data analytics will explore the challenges and opportunities for the tourism sector.

  • Sara Pastor, Managing Director Destinations EMEA, Adara
  • Peter Princzinger , Head of the board, Hungarian Tourism Association

16:15- 16:30h

Tourism, Technology and Music 

Increasingly, music tourism is a main reason for travel, as seen by the growing number of music festivals of all genres in both big cities and rural areas. These events attract an international audience, through social media and other online platforms and make it easier than ever to find events and festivals by region, genre and artist as well as for the organizers to better understand their target audience through data analytics, not only to the events but also to the destination. This session will highlight the incredible opportunity tourism, technology and music presents for destinations.

16:30 –16:45h Announcement of Competition Winner
16:45 –17:00h Presentation of WTD 2019 Host Country

17:00 –17:15h

Closing remarks

Natalia Bayona, Senior Expert, UNWTO 

20:00 - 22.00h Dinner
Friday, 28 September 2018
  Technical site visits