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Budapest and Balatonfüred are giving away 76 gold medals among the winners at 17th FINA World Championships. But what can the director hosting expect from the World Championships? Based on Windsor, Hungary has a bright future ahead in the sport tourism.

After witnessing the successful performances of the best swimmers of the planet, Windsor, Canada’s southernmost city, is still enjoying the positive impact of the organisation of the FINA World Swimming Championships (25m), staged from 6-11. December 2016. The Canadian Sport Tourism Alliance recently announced that Windsor is finalist in two categories for its 2017 Prestige Awards, specifically the “International Sport Event of the Year” and “Sustainable Sport Event of the Year”.

Almost 900 athletes from over 150 nations were in Canada to compete in this FINA major event, which were highlighted by two World and five championships’ records. Team USA was the best national squad of the event, while individually, Katinka Hosszú (HUN) and Chad Le Clos (RSA) were the best ones in Windsor. The competition was held in the WFCU venue, normally used by the local ice hockey team – a provisional pool was installed in the venue, thus creating the perfect atmosphere for all participants in the event.

Windsor is part of a list including 24 finalists for the Canadian Sport Tourism Awards, whose winners will be unveiled at a prestigious ceremony to be held in Ottawa on March 21.

Rick Traer, CEO of the Canadian Sport Tourism Alliance, considered: “Each one of these finalists has contributed to the over $6 billion sport tourism industry in Canada.” Mr Traer then concluded: “Through the Prestige Award programme, we are proud to honour the people, the events, the sponsors and the communities who have helped make Canada a world leader in the sport tourism industry.”

On that basis, Budapest and Balatonfüred also can expect good signs for the 17th FINA World Championships. The Hungarian capital regularly conducts successful competitions such as the Water Polo Champions League Final 6 or the Judo Grand Prix, but at Lake Balaton has repeatedly been held the open water swimming competitions.

However, the fact, which should not be overlooked, is that this event, the 17th World Championships will be the biggest sport event ever hold in the country. The catering facilities have never seen a crowd what will be in Hungary at the time of the World Championships. Says a lot about the fact that the hotels are fully booked during the period between 14 - 30 July, not to mention The Masters World Championships which begins on 7 August, where already more than 5,000 people applied.

The masters’ characteristic is that most of the participants are arriving with family or friends. This means that after the World Championships Budapest and Balatonfüred can expect countless visitors for almost a month.

Balaton and its surroundings already an attractive target for foreigners during the summer, so if one want to spend the summertime at the Hungarian Sea, one needs to be prepared in time. This is especially true on the North coast where Balatonfüred is situated. The two venues are almost 130km away from each other on the highway.

And if one driving to Budapest, one should know that the capital is the fifth cheapest tourist destination in Europe. According to the so-called Daily Backpacker Index* a daily average tourist spends a day in Budapest for at about 26$. According to preliminary calculations, Hungary is expecting 15,000 tourists for the elite competition, while 25,000 foreigners are expected for the Masters. If they spend an average three days in Budapest, it can count 78 dollars per person, so the World Championships during the 17 days will bring around 3.51 million dollars for the trade and service industries. This amount during the 14-day Masters can be 5.85 million. It can be beneficial even for the hospitality sector, the amount is likely to rise during the two events.

* The Daily Backpacker Index takes into account the particular city accommodation, dining, entertainment and travel to and from prices averaged to provide a minimum cost spent the day in the city.