Photo: MTI

Government spokesman: Programmes of August 20 holiday can be regarded as a festival

The four-day celebration of Hungary's national holiday on August 20th "can be regarded as a festival", Zoltan Kovacs, the state secretary for international relations and communications, said on Monday, adding that the event celebrating St. Stephen's Day drew 2 million visitors last year.

The operative body responsible for organising the celebrations approved the security plans of the events at its meeting today, Kovacs said.

The programmes will “represent national cohesion” and the desirability of caring for each other, he said.

At the same time, there is a “politically motivated campaign” against the fireworks, he said. As all contracts were signed in the spring and the purchases have been made, he added. “At this stage, it would be more expensive to cancel the fireworks than to hold them.” The fireworks cost the same as last year, he added.

Zsofia Jakab, deputy CEO of the Hungarian Tourism Agency (MTU), said that during the celebrations last year, the number of guest nights doubled in Budapest to 107,000 during the four-day event. Of that number, the number of foreign visitors accounted for 60 percent, she said.

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