Design and development of touristic products Main author: Gábor Michalkó Szilvia Boros, János Csapó, Éva Happ, Pál Horváth, Anikó Husz, Mónika Jónás-Beri, Katalin Lőrinc, Andrea Máté, Gábor Michalkó, Erzsébet Printz-Markó, Krisztina Priszinger, Tamara

Figure 1. Hungarian wine producing areas in Appendix I of the Decree of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development No. 127/2009 (29 September)

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Figure 1. Hungarian wine producing areas in Appendix I of the Decree of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development No. 127/2009 (29 September)

(ed. Máté, A.) In brackets: names of the wine producing regions in the acts from 1997 to 2009

1. Kunság; 2. Csongrád; 3. Hajós-Baja; 4. Neszmély (Ászár-Neszmély), 5. Badacsony; 6. Balatonfüred-Csopak; 7. Balaton Uplands (Balatonmellék), 8. Nagy-Somló (Somló), 9. Mór; 10. Etyek-Buda; 11. Sopron; 12. Pannonhalma (Pannonhalma-Sokoróalja), 13. Balatonboglár (South Balaton), 14. Szekszárd; 15. Pécs (Lower Mecsek), 16. Villány (Villány-Siklós), 17. Mátra (Lower Mátra), 18. Eger; 19. Bükk (Lower Bükk), 20. Tokaj (Tokajhegyalja), 21. Zala (Zala; Balatonmellék), 22. Tolna

The wine production of Hungary is dominated by white wines, because in 70% of the vineyards white grapes are grown. The major red wine producing areas in Hungary are Eger, Sopron, Szekszárd and Villány. The most typical sorts of grapes in Hungary are Italian Riesling and Blue Francs, although with production areas decreasing in size. After the systemic change, the market demanded an increased proportion of world sorts (Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Rhine Riesling, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Merlot). In the last years the typical local and regional sorts (Kadarka, Cirfandli, Linden Leaf, Kéknyelű – “Blue Stem” –, Furmint, Cserszeg Spicy, Irsai Olivér) have been growing in production size, by which Hungary can keep its unique offer of wines. The world famous centre of dessert and aszú wine making is the Tokaj wine producing area. The amount of wines produced in Hungary has considerably decreased, from 450‑550 million litres to only 310–350 million litres per year, influenced, in addition to the weather, by the decrease in the size of the vineyards (Appendix 3).

The wine producing areas and wine regions abound in attractions (Máté, A. 2009, 2007a, b):

·         Favourable geographical and climatic endowments of the wine producing areas: southern slopes or transformed hillsides rich in pleasant sunshine, diverse sorts of grapes, well-kept vineyards, the centres of wine production. The special atmosphere attracts visitors (Michalkó, G. – Vizi, I. 2006, Rohály, G. – Mészáros, G. – Nagymarosy, A. 2004).

·         The cellars and wineries: in addition to the old press houses, cellars and cellar streets as organic parts of the landscape, visitors are now awaited by modern wine houses as well. The fame, products, reception capacity and accessibility of cellars all influence the number of their visitors. The technology applied in the cellars, the buildings of the processing plants and the peculiarities of the reception place also evoke the interest of the visitors. A high quality catering requires adequate opening hours, and the skills of foreign languages. The staff must be friendly, organised and polite. Cellars must be made accessible to tourists, if necessary, roads and car parking facilities must be constructed (Appendix 4).

·         The wine products: the quality of wines and the attraction of brand names created by the cellars have been continuously growing, as more and more of them are known by the consumers. The results of wine competitions are given a growing publicity, and although the opinions of wine assessments are subjective (depending e.g. on the taste and health condition of the wine judge, the location etc.), still it is a decisive information for certain target groups. Uniqueness is an important element in tourism, which must be used in wine tourism as well, as wines from the respective years offer novelty and diversity, making it worth returning to the cellars to taste the difference of the years or among the cuvée wines.

·         Wine route: Wine routes are a guarantee of quality for visitors, because a well functioning wine route offers a wide range of services, programme packages, good accessibility (both physically and virtually), an adequate environment of reception and high quality accommodation and catering facilities (Máté, A. 2006). The first one in Hungary was the Villány-Siklós Wine Route that was followed by a number of other wine routes (Szabó, G. 2006, 2003a, 2003b, 1995).

·         Towns and villages of the wine producing areas: A dominant role is played by the hinterland around the wine producing area. Both urban and rural spaces can offer a number of values enriching the visits of tourists, depending on their interests (Máté, A. – Pap, N. 2007). The attractions of nearby big cities are their historical past, entertainment facilities and dynamic mood, whereas villages are made interesting by their tranquil and clean environment, village hospitality, traditions and folk arts values.

·         Museum, exhibition, local history collection; historical memories; handicrafts: In addition to exhibitions featuring former viticulturist and wine production technology, it is also worth including the local history, ethnographic and arts values of the area in the programme for the tourists. Just like development and new technologies are expected in wine production, environment friendly environment, and staff are also becoming more important, together with the application of multilingual information tools and multimedia technology in museums and exhibition places. Castles, chateaus and churches are those historical remnants that have survived the last centuries and make the range of sights of interest more diverse. Several handicraftsmen work in the wine producing areas whose products can be seen as ornaments, dishes or other subjects in the cellars.

·         Events, festivals: Events and festivals make the touristic supply of an area dynamic and diverse. Events can be extremely diverse: folklore, ethnic traditions, vintage festival, gastronomic, music or arts festivals, or conferences and fairs. Wine may be a dominant element in some types of events, whereas it may have a supplementary role in other sorts. An advantage of events and festivals is that wine producers can more easily introduce their wines to new customers, they may increase their profit. Wine producers are given a chance to establish relationships with the consumers and thereby they can get to know their opinions.

2.1.2. Hungarian gastronomic traditions

The unique tastes of Hungarian cuisine have been made by the combined effect of diverse ingredients, the characteristic seasoning and the special kitchen technology procedures.

The dominant characteristics of Hungarian cuisine are as follows (Tusor, A.–Sahin-Tóth, Gy. 2006):

·         stew base: the joint use of pork lard, onion and red pepper

·         pork as a dominant ingredient

·         meat products: Gyula, Csaba and Debrecen double sausages, Pick salami, bacon, goose liver

·         frequent use of sour cream

·         specific cooking methods: making stew base, toasting, thickening of foods with flour mixed with lard or sour cream

·         special spicing procedures: red pepper, onion, garlic, cumin

·         soups: spicy fish soup, Palóc soup, chicken soup Újházi art, Jókai bean soup

·         high carbohydrate content of garnishings and vegetables

·         pastries and sweets: Hungarian pastries made from batter (with poppy seeds, cottage cheese etc.), Rigó Jancsi, Dobos cake, somlói galuska (sponge cake), Gerbaud cake, Rákóczi quark cake, Gundel pancake

Several characteristics of the Hungarian gastronomic traditions can be converted into touristic programmes (TUSOR, A.–Sahin-Tóth, Gy. 2006):

·         village wedding party and the related events, e.g. the Sárköz wedding

·         baking and cooking in oven, smoking, drying

·         grilling on the spit, bacon grilling, ox grilling

·         roasting in clay, cooking in pot in open-air

·         pig killing, pig slaughter feast

·         ethnic gastronomic traditions: Swabian, Székely, Sokác, Serb, Slovak and Romanian

The gastronomy of the Hungarian regions can be accompanied by the following attractions (FEHÉR, I. – KÓRÓDI, M. 2008):

·         Gastronomic events: A successful part of tourism product development in Hungary are those events and festivals that attract audience “hungry” for programmes at a well selected time of the year, introducing the most characteristic local products, their cooking methods or the local gastronomic traditions. These events evoke the interests of a wide range of visitors in the respective product. The period of their preliminary advertisement and the ex-post events may further lengthen interests in the respective product. Festivals and events, if they are well organised, can gain a market for the given products, increase the everyday demand for them. Annually recurring events, some of which have a large number of visitors now, have a role in strengthening image that should not be forgotten.

It is not an easy task to evaluate the dynamically increasing supply of local product festivals and gastro-festivals in Hungary. The different programme advertisements contain some of these events in rather varied approach and composition. If we select agrotourism related events from the “crop” of the last years, we can register almost 300 events. The attraction of and the number of visitors at festivals are hard to assess, and it is not easier to define their content, either. On the basis of their programmes and content they can be classified into at least four categories:

o   Feasts of local products or crops, where an outstanding position is held by vegetables (from cucumber to pumpkin) and fruits. It is remarkable that plum is the most popular fruit, several festivals in many regions of Hungary are organised on it!

o   Cooking festivals of traditional dishes, where the dominant role is played by the approximately 15 fish cooking festivals every year. Looking at this figure only, one could think that the consumption of fish is very widespread in Hungary, although the facts show that the situation is just the opposite!

o   Cooking competitions that also attract a significant number of visitors from the narrower and in some cases the wider environment, may represent two trends. There are competitions organised on dishes made with special techniques (e.g. grilling) where attraction is, on the one hand, the large number of competing groups, and in the tasting of the dishes, on the one hand. However, we also find competitions organised on special raw materials and ingredients (e.g. games).

o   Mixed events maybe festivals or events without a clear-cut profile and/or having very diverse programmes. In the diverse profile a special emphasis is placed on keeping traditions, programmes introducing several products, and the combination of beverages and foods. Most of them even integrate music, cooking competition and cultural elements in the programme.

·      Gastronomic museums and local exhibitions: Local exhibition places can introduce the economic activities, everyday life of a respective area or ethnic group, including cooking and eating habits. Former cookers, tools and pieces of equipment may evoke days gone by. Gastronomic museums, on the other hand, demonstrate the production methods of certain foods and the tools used for making these foods, they are “live museums” in many cases where visitors can participate in the creation of the food product (like in Petrits Honey Cake and Candle Museum in Szekszárd), as well as purchase them, e.g. Paprika Museum – Kalocsa, Marzipan Museum and Confectionery – Keszthely, Dobos Sweets (Chocolate Museum) – Szentendre (FEHÉR, I. – KÓRÓDI, M. 2008).

·         Gastronomic theme routes: Inspired by the success and wine routes and international examples, several theme routes of gastronomic character have been created in Hungary, such as the Plums Route (in the Szatmár-Bereg region), the Horseradish Route (in the area of Bagamér), the Apple Route (in Vas and Zala counties). These theme routes are built on the small intensity, scattered but diverse attractions of the rural areas. They integrate and convert into touristic programme the agriculture and gastronomy related attractions of the respective regions. Service providers in the theme routes can be businesses making local products (on the Plum Route they may be producers of plums jam, dried plums, plum brandy), gastronomic events, local catering facilities, local accommodation owners, or handicraftsmen (FEHÉR, I. – KÓRÓDI, M. 2008).

2.2. Related touristic infrastructure: the information system of wine routes

For the implementation of a wine route, a basic requirement is to find the communication channels to promote the marketing of the supply, in which the touristic information system plays a primary role. At the first Hungarian wine route, the Villány-Siklós Wine Route, one of the achievements of project development was the system of information signposts and the information office of the wine route in 2007. The system has been enlarged since then, the number of information signs and their content has multiplied, but they basically followed the objectives defined in the development phase.

The touristic information system can be taken as the living connection between the touristic market and the local supply. There are expectations against the system from two sides. Of special significance are the needs of tourists who expect the full exploration and demonstration of all segments of the supply and also want to have enough information to select and use the supply suitable form them. The operators of the wine route, on the other hand, hope to find a market for their supply, using the information system. The system can only meet these two requirements if it can guarantee both availability and accessibility.

The demands can be satisfied by the location of two information systems, which are of different characters but closely related to and mutually complementing each other (Table 4).

The two networks are as follows:

·      system of orientation, information and demonstration signs,

·      network of interactive information points.

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