Herausragende Europäische Reiseziele „eine Kostprobe Ungarns"European destinations of excellence "A pinch of Hungary"

In 2015 the European Commission called for proposals for "European Destinations of Excellence'' (EDEN) for the ninth time. The aim of the project to be realised in the framework of the competition is to draw attention to the values and diversity of European destinations as well as to support the promotion of regions which implement their tourism developments based on the principle of sustainability.

Under the project, every year a destination of excellence is chosen for each Member State, which is rewarded in various ways. Among the objectives the European Commission seeks to promote through the project are combating seasonality and geographical concentration, encouraging sustainable models of tourism development, helping to share good practices by exchanging experiences, and strengthening professional ties among awarded destinations.

Under the 2014/15 call for proposals "EDEN – Tourism and Local Gastronomy'', the best destination in Hungary was chosen in a competition entitled "A Pinch of Hungary". The goal was to select and reward a regional tourist reception area and cooperation schemes whose tourist attractions are linked with the diversity of local food and are presented at a high standard to tourists. The winner of the competition may use the title "European Destination of Excellence – Hungary's most delicious place to visit".

Hungarian Tourism Plc provides help in developing the marketing tools of the Hungarian region winning the honorary title. The winning region can also participate in the 2015 European Tourism Forum, where it will receive its "European Destination of Excellence" award together with its European counterparts. An opportunity to appear on a joint European portal (www.edenineurope.eu) helps promotion in international markets. The winner of the competition may also take part in a project developing a network that promotes professional cooperation among the winning destinations, to be realised at the European Commission's initiative. The winner has a further opportunity, to appear on Hungarian Tourism Plc's micro-site eden.itthon.hu, where a professional summary is posted in Hungarian and English. The runners-up in the competition and the other applicants can also win promotional contributions at several levels in accordance with the descriptions in the Competition Guide.

In each Member State the national tourist office or another public body in charge of tourism delegated by the competent national administration for tourism may submit a proposal in response to the European Commission's call. In Hungary the Ministry for National Economy's Tourism and Catering Department, responsible for the state management of tourism, delegated the operational tasks connected with the project development and organisation to Hungarian Tourism Plc, while continuously taking part in their implementation at a professional level.


Arranging the competition

"Hungary's most delicious place to visit" is selected by competition.

Applicants were able to obtain detailed information including eligibility criteria and other conditions from the website http://eden.itthon.hu as well as at information days held in the regions in April 2015. A Help Desk service also assisted applicants in preparing applications until the deadline for submitting proposals on May 26, 2015.

Professional requirements (details in the Competition Guide):

  • Conscious product development (the characteristics and availability of gastronomic and local products on offer, the existence of traditional local food and ingredients in the products of producers and the services in the region, standard of proposal for spending time in the region, the complexity of the tourist services that deal with combating seasonality and geographical concentration, high quality marketing activity and enforcement of environmental sustainability criteria).
  • Infrastructure (adequate, unified signposting, tourist visitor points, information service, offered range of accommodation, the tidiness of the destination).
  • Organisational background, partnership (close, mutual ties between local producers, local retailers and catering enterprises, involvement of local population in tourism, measuring visitor satisfaction, enforcement of social sustainability criteria, visiting locations).

Multi-stage professional evaluation

The evaluation of the proposals took place under the organisational framework of Hungarian Tourism Plc as the beneficiary. The formal, multi-stage professional evaluation was made by an Evaluation Group comprised of Hungarian Tourism Plc (MT Zrt.), the Ministry for National Economy's Tourism and Catering Department (NGM), the Association of Hungarian Rural and Agrotourism (FATOSZ), the Association of Rural Guest Table Service Providers (FVSZE), the Hungarian Gastronomic National Association (MNGSZ) and Stylish Rural Restaurant Culture (SVÉT). Visits to the applicant regions were usually made during the evaluation process.

Of the 19 proposals received, 5 reached the final – winner to be chosen in the final straight

Nineteen proposals were received in response to the call "A Pinch of Hungary". Following the formal and professional evaluation based on the criteria mentioned above and visits to the locations, the five applicants below reached the final, where the jury chooses the winner.

Applying entity

Title of entry

Cégénydányád Municipality

Welcome to Szatmár

Hortobágyi Nonprofit Kft.

Hortobágy cauldron cooking tour: Bring your cauldron and learn how to cook Great Plain style.

Mecsek Greenway Association

"Behold this scene, a vast sheet of green" – and a table spread with miracles: Mecsek, the gastronomic footprint of the country.

Nagykörű Municipality

"Peek in the Pot" on the Tisza riverside- Nagykörű and environs

Vásárosnamény Municipality

A Bite of Szatmár-Bereg

The table above does not suggest any order in evaluation.

The final decision is reached by a jury of tourism experts and representatives of professional tourism bodies at the closing trade conference held at the National Agriculture and Food Exhibition on September 26, 2015. All applicant regions and representatives of the press and relevant professional associations were invited to the closing conference. Here the five best destinations selected in the first round have the opportunity to present their proposal, after which the jury will deliberate behind closed doors in order to make their final choice. The material presented by the regions, the assessment of the Evaluation Group, the experience of visiting the regions and the presentations given will all receive due consideration in reaching the decision. The winner of this year's competition will be announced at the closing conference.

In addition to the main prize for the winner, Hungarian Tourism Plc offers the runners-up and the other participants promotional cooperation at several levels and presents each of them with a certificate in recognition of their merits.

The presentations shown in the final will be available after the event online at http://eden.itthon.hu. The tourist programmes proposed by applicants will be accessible in the National Tourism Database via the website www.itthon.hu.

Members of the jury:

  • Dr. Ádám Ruszinkó, Deputy State Secretary for Tourism, Ministry for National Economy
  • István Loránd Szakáli, Deputy State Secretary for Agricultural Development and Hungaricums, Ministry of Agriculture
  • Tamás Glázer, Deputy CEO for Tourism, Hungarian Tourism Plc
  • Dr. Csilla Szalók, President, Association of Hungarian Rural and Agrotourism