Recently several improvements have taken place in the Heves County side of the Lake Tisza. Such development efforts have a crucial importance as despite previously achieved results the rate of progress at the Lake Tisza region lagged behind that of more successful regions in Hungary. We have interviewed Dr. Tamás Várhelyi, the manager of the Tiszanána project and the author of several tourism-related scholarly works about the potential developmental options

The tourism and regional development expert recommended strategically significant developments in order to respond to local and regional needs. He singled out slow boating or house boating as a potential solution. Slow boating could be developed in synergy with eco-tourism, a sector previously supported with major investments. Communities or settlements providing slow boating facilities at the Right Bank of Lake Tisza could be introduced in the domestic tourism market as a group. In addition to services built on water he recommends that innovative products and services related to tourism and a healthy lifestyle should be offered as well.

One of the key components for the development of the Lake Tisza region is the improvement of the harbour and the beach. Such an effort should be performed at several locations at different time periods while focusing on differing issues. According to “The beach and boat harbour development project at Tiszanána-Dinnyéshát” the respective infrastructural design and implementation should result in entry at the national tourism market. The main objective of the development efforts is the improvement of the infrastructure connected with local tourist attractions. The complex and integrated approach of the project has regional significance and it determines Tiszanána’s profile as a regional tourist attraction. While Poroszló has become the centre of eco-tourism, Sarud is known for active tourism, and Kisköre developed its own rafting centre, Tiszanána also becomes a special tourism attraction with its harbour connected to the river while the tranquil waters are ideal for swimmers and beachgoers. Furthermore, it can become a centre for motorboating at the Right Bank of the Lake Tisza.

In addition to the improvement of the tourist attractions it is crucial to develop the accommodation facilities and restaurants of the area, which could become the next stage of the envisioned progress. Tiszanána-Dinnyéshát needs improved quality hotels, restaurants and shops, which are open throughout the boating season. Hotels offering health-wellness services staying open year round along with special profile restaurants could attract more visitors. Tiszanána could also benefit from the completion of the developmental program of Sarud.

The tourism potential of introducing slow boating or houseboating options

In order to increase the reputation and success of Lake Tisza unique attractions and services have to be elaborated. The current developments can lay the foundation for the introduction of a new tourism product, the rental of houseboats. Although this holiday option is especially successful in Europe, it is relatively unknown in Hungary.

Slow boats are vessels equipped similarly to caravans. Compared to traditional ships they have a smaller engine, are 6-8 meters long and are mostly used in canal systems. House boating options are included in the offers of international time share or RCI networks. Lake Tisza would be an ideal venue for houseboat tourism and the Port of Tiszanána could function as one of its centres. In addition to its direct benefits the image of the Lake would be improved as well.

The houseboats rented on a weekly basis could result in a significant growth in the length of average vacation time spent in the area. Since holidaymakers choosing this option usually have a higher economic status than the average vacationer, the expected spending would increase the receipts of local restaurants and shops, and could lead to the establishment of new businesses as well. Due to the inclusive aspect of the project up to seven ports can be established and such development could function as the catalyst for the effective and coordinated progress of the Lake Tisza region.