BUDAPEST, Nov. 20 (Xinhua) -- Hungary will spend 21 billion forints (71.8 million U.S. dollars) to boost tourism next year, Speaker of Parliament Laszlo Kover told a gathering in Lenti, a town located at Hungary's borders with Slovenia, Croatia and Austria, on Sunday, Hungarian News Agency MTI reported.
The gathering marked the opening of a new hotel and medicinal spa designed to attract visitors from the three countries as well as from Hungary itself.
Longer term funding will come in part from a 4 percent tourism development tax, to be introduced in 2018, Kover said. The money will go to improve accommodation quality as well as for marketing and to fund events that attract tourists, he added.
The government would like to see tourism pay a bigger role in supporting economic growth and in job creation, the speaker said.
In the European Union's 2014-2020 financing timeframe, about 400 billion forints (1.37 billion U.S. dollars) will be devoted to upgrade settlements along Hungary's borders, which includes improving infrastructures, health care, education, tourism and research, Kover said. Private businesses may bid for funds, he added.
According to statistics, the number of visitors to Hungary grew by 39 percent between 2010 and 2015. That means the guest population was slightly higher than the overall Hungarian population of 10 million.
At the same time, the gross cash inflow to tourist accommodations was up by over 50 percent. (1 U.S. dollar = 292.58 Hungarian forints)