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The asymmetric impact of COVID-19 on tourism in the Komárom-Komárno area based on a TV programme

Reflections on the asymmetric impact of COVID-19 on tourism in the SPOT case study area of Komárom-Komárno based on a TV programme

(see the link of the broadcast below)

The Hungarian television channel ATV presented a particular example of COVID-19 lockdowns varying from country to country on 12 December in its evening magazine program called Heti Napló. The program dealt at length with the situation of the Komárom (HU) – Komárno (SK) cross-border city-pair (the relevant part of the broadcast is available between 02:55 - 13:40 min. in Hungarian). The city-pair lying on each side of the Danube between Hungary and Slovakia is the case study area of the Hungarian team of the SPOT project ( Therefore, we present a short summary of the report in English. The impact of COVID-19 in this cross-border cultural tourism destination, which is already in a special situation, differed from the average. The events of the last weeks have amplified its cross-border specificities. The stricter Slovak and the more permissive Hungarian restrictions have led to a massive influx of shoppers from Slovakia to shops, restaurants, and spas on the Hungarian side of the city-pair. In Slovakia after two weeks of full lockdown, curfew restrictions, while only shops selling basic goods were allowed to be open, the restrictions were lifted on 10 December. Still, restaurants are only allowed to sell takeaway, and Christmas markets were not allowed to open. On the Hungarian side, no restrictions are introduced in the visiting of shops, restaurants, etc. except wearing facemasks in shops. Thus, there has been a significant increase in demand in Hungarian towns along the border, particularly in Komárom (Hungary), which is separated from Komárno (Slovakia) only by a bridge over the Danube. The program interviewed restaurant and bookshop owners on the Slovak side, who reported that their turnover had fallen to a fraction of what it had been. The interviewed restaurant owner estimates this at 20% of the normal turnover. However, in Komárom, the Hungarian side of the city-pair, restaurants are seeing a significant increase in demand from the Slovak side, which is being boosted by the weakening of the exchange rate of the Hungarian currency (Forint) in addition to the Slovak closure. According to the public relations manager of the cinema in Komárom, 30-40% of their visitors come from Slovakia, and there are also many cars with Slovak plates in the parking spaces of the thermal baths.

Ultimately, this asymmetry helps the Hungarian side to get through the COVID-19 period, while the Slovak side suffers a larger than average loss due to a persistent backlog of locals and visitors from Hungary as well.

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