An unprecedented and comprehensive, more than 300 billion HUF development programme was announced by the government for the prosperity of the Balaton region from EU and domestic financial resources. The programme targeting tourism development, economy and innovation, water quality and water safety, transportation, regional development and the labour market is of immense significance, whose long-term and advantageous effect in the region is indisputable.
180 settlements belong to the emphasized Balaton resort area, in the life of which a new era begins. Not only do settlements on the shore participate in the programme, but also important medicinal places, spas such as Hévíz, Zalakaros and the Balaton Uplands. The necessity of such developments is inevitable: Lake Balaton and Hévíz after Budapest are the second most popular tourist destinations in Hungary, therefore they generate a significant revenue for the state. However, to be able to cope with the European competition in tourism, investments offering quality services are necessary.
The aim of the developments to be accomplished in the following years is to broaden the appeal of the region, which attracts financially strong clientele, results in job generation and guarantees the long-term marketability of the region. Among the plans one can find spa resort developments, the increase of accommodation capacity and infrastructural developments. In addition to beach tourism sailing, equestrian tourism, angling tourism, cultural tourism, wine making and cycle tourism are also popular among guests.
Among the most important investments the cycle path around Lake Balaton will be refurbished and harbour developments can be launched to provide complex services. The Sió Lock will be renovated and the ring railway around the Balaton may be realized. Road transport, transport by rail and water transport will be developed. Winemakers will be financially supported, local markets will be built and more significance will be attached to healthy products from and around the Balaton.
The narrow-gauge railway of Balatonfenyves may be refurbished and extended, and the second ferry line may be opened between Fonyód and Badacsony. Roads connecting smaller settlements may be built to make tourist attractions more accessible. Electric buses can appear in Siófok, Balatonfüred and Keszthely.
Serious IT developments are expected related to public transport. Information and database of the public transport by bus, by rail and by ship on the Balaton will be connected from an EU supported development budget. According to the project 52 outdoor electronic passenger information displays will be installed at railway stations, bus stops and stations and harbours. The purchase of three new ships, the renovation of ferries, harbour developments and the construction of one industrial harbour (on the Northern shore) are part of the Balaton shipping strategy. Further important amount of money will be available for the improvement of the water quality and the shoreline protection of Lake Balaton.
Sármellék Airport serves the quality of the tourism around Lake Balaton, which, according to the plans, will be refurbished from financial resources and the airport will be connected to the M7 motorway by a clearway financed by a different development programme. The exterior and the interior of the strategically important Hévíz-Balaton Airport will be renovated. Non-European flights can also arrive in Sármellék, which may give the region a new perspective.
In addition to the revival of foreign tourism, the economic growth of the region and the appearance of new investors are projected by the planned Balaton development programme, which may create more opportunities for progress in some sectors of the economy. As a result of the quality infrastructural developments, the outstanding service extension in the sector of tourism, the investments serving modern transportation and the improvement of public security, the region of Lake Balaton can become one of the most popular holiday spots of Europe beside the favoured holiday destination of the Thermal Lake of Hévíz.
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