Promoting travel and tourism and sharing benefits between the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia is very much part of the Visegrad Group also known as the “Visegrad Four” or simply “V4” They reflect the efforts of the countries of the Central European region to work together in a number of fields of common interest within the all-European integration.
Member countries had always been part of a single civilization sharing cultural and intellectual values and common roots in diverse religious traditions, which they wish to preserve and further strengthen.
All the V4 countries aspired to become members of the European Union, perceiving their integration in the EU as another step forward in the process of overcoming artificial dividing lines in Europe through mutual support. They reached this aim in 2004 (1st May) when they all became members of the EU.
Poland currently is holding the presidency of the Group and hosted a high-level meeting to address the opportunities and issues in sharing tourism.
“For Chinese tourists traveling to Europe, Kraków, Prague or Budapest are very similar, popular destinations. The question is how to package a good tourist product for them, ” said Dawid Lasek from the Polish Sport and Tourism Ministry.
The V4 was not created as an alternative to the all-European integration efforts, nor does it try to compete with the existing functional Central European structures. Its activities are in no way aimed at isolation or the weakening of ties with the other countries.
On the contrary the Group aims at encouraging optimum cooperation with all countries, in particular its neighbours, its ultimate interest being the democratic development in all parts of Europe.
The Visegrad Group wishes to contribute towards building the European security architecture based on effective, functionally complementary and mutually reinforcing cooperation and coordination within existing European and transatlantic institutions.
In order to preserve and promote cultural cohesion, cooperation within the Visegrad Group will enhance the imparting of values in the field of culture, education, science and exchange of information.
All the activities of the Visegrad Group are aimed at strengthening stability in the Central European region. The participating countries perceive their cooperation as a challenge and its success as the best proof of their ability to integrate also into such structures, such as the European Union.
Meanwhile, Following an impressive month of 15% growth in passenger traffic in November, Budapest Airport has today welcomed its 11 millionth passenger this year, the first time this milestone has been reached in the airport’s 66-year history.
Setting a new record for annual passengers for a third year running, the Hungarian gateway has experienced an average 10% growth in passenger traffic, establishing Budapest as one of the fastest growing tourism markets in Europe at this time.
Heightened by the addition of 16 new destinations this year, along with 14 airlines significantly increasing frequency to essential hubs such as Amsterdam, London Heathrow and Doha, the airport has connected to more than 100 scheduled destinations throughout the year.
Today’s achievement was celebrated with airberlin, with the oneworld alliance airline carrying Budapest’s 11 millionth passenger from Budapest to Berlin Tegel – a route which has also seen a frequency increase this year with the addition of a third daily flight.
Last year we experienced remarkable passenger traffic growth and to watch the robust development continue into 2016 is a rewarding time for us all, said Kam Jandu, CCO, Budapest Airport. He added: We approached this year with a strategy to do all we could to ensure Budapest, and Hungary, remain an attractive and competitive market, and I believe we’ve not only succeeded in this goal but also ensured the demands of our passengers, as well as our business partners, have been met.
To ensure the Hungarian gateway is ready to meet further demand, the airport will invest approximately €180 million into its infrastructure over the next three years. The investment will see a number of developments including a new airport hotel, check-in area extension, a new Pier B, and a new Terminal C cargo facility.
Expecting to welcome 11.3 million passengers overall by the end of December, Budapest will have delivered an impressive 22% growth from 2014 to this year-end, a record-breaking expansion in Central and Eastern Europe.