ASTA Global River Cruise Expo in Budapest

US Travel Advisors Attended the Global River Cruise Expo in Budapest

The American Society of Travel Advisors (ASTA) and over 500 US based travel advisors attended the Global River Cruise Expo in Budapest, March 16-20, along with global river cruise brands, and hundreds of European exhibitors, all cordially welcomed by the Hungarian tourism board, the Hungarian Tourism Agency (HTA).

Budapest is considered the “river capital of the world”, a premiere port destination along the Danube.

“We were thrilled to be partnering with ASTA to host their inaugural Global River Cruise Expo in Budapest”, said László Könnyid, Deputy CEO of the Hungarian Tourism Agency.

“Our hope is that all travel agents and advisors attending the event will get to know our beautiful capital and the surrounding region with all its off-the-beaten path destinations – to hopefully convince their clients to spend some extra days with us before or after their river cruises. This event once again underlines Hungary’s prominent position among river cruise destinations, and it is an honor that the industry leaders gather in Budapest for the first time ever for such an occasion.”

The Danube is widely known as a path forged by a number of kings – to mention one of the interesting adventures worth reliving during a river cruise starting or finishing in Budapest. Everyone can find a reason to enjoy a river cruise: explorers wishing to discover ancient lands, young people interested in modern multicultural cities, photographers looking for breathtaking scenery, connoisseurs of regional cuisines – this all can be found in Hungary.

The country’s latest tourism campaign on the US market is launching in March with a focus on the outstanding architecture of Budapest, the unique folk traditions, and the exceptional thermal spa culture of the country. This is in line with the ongoing preparations to reopen direct flights connecting major cities of North America with Hungary, where pandemic is in decline, and epidemiological restrictions have been lifted as of the 7th of March.

In practice, the phasing out of almost all coronavirus-related restrictive measures means that travelers can enter Hungary without the need for any vaccination or immunity certificate or any type of tests. Vaccination certificate or wearing masks is no longer required to access indoor congresses or conferences, accommodations, spas, sporting or cultural events, music- and dance festivals, or outdoor events of any type.

Meanwhile, there is another challenge to face. As a 90-year-old trade association, ASTA has always been committed to supporting their international partners through times of war and global crisis.

“The ASTA River Cruise Expo, and the rescinding of travel restrictions now occurring around the world – support the reality that the pandemic is fading fast,” said Zane Kerby, President & CEO of ASTA.

“That’s good news for all of us. It is especially good news for all the Americans who are ready to travel the world now! Travel promotes peace, understanding, and empathy. The opportunity to connect with people and places around the globe will again be realized. Travel advisors will be there to guide, advise, and watch over. All at a time when the bonds of our common humanity are needed more than ever.

“Tourism is an industry of peace. We work for peace, but at the same time we also lend a helping hand to those in need”, adds László Könnyid.

“The solidarity shown by the Hungarian tourism industry towards those in need in this emergency reached unprecedented levels. Hungary is a safe destination, where the government does its utmost to help restore peace.”

In addition to financial donations to charities, ASTA attendees brought a very generous number of supplies such as blankets and hygiene kits for women and children with them from the U.S. The donation items were collected onsite during the River Cruise Expo and with the help of the Hungarian Tourism Agency, these items were gathered and sent directly to the Ukrainian border.

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