last updated 28 March, 2009
Star News letter February 2009

Hungary's Largest Cultural Festival
Budapest comes alive for the annual Spring Festival 20 March – 5 April 2009

THE Hungarian National Tourist Office has designated 2009 as the ‘year of cultural tourism’ and will seek to highlight major cultural sights, festivals and events in its global marketing activities throughout the year.

One of Hungary’s largest cultural events of the year is the annual Budapest Spring Festival, this year taking place from 20 March until 5 April. This is an extravaganza of more than 200 events taking place at top venues throughout the city including the Hungarian State Opera House and the Palace of Arts, with performances catering for all cultural tastes.

The festival showcases the finest Hungarian performers, composers and artists, as well as many international acts and also includes a two day Fringe Festival (3-5 April), for the third year running, for up and coming talent.

From classical to rock concerts; contemporary dance to traditional ballet; from high brow operas to colorful street performances; fire jugglers to art exhibitions, the festival offers visitors the chance to sample a wide variety of world-class performances and exhibitions in one visit to the city.

One of the highlights for visitors will be the chance to see a performance from the world-famous Nigel Kennedy who has been popular for over 25 years and is one of the greatest violinists in the world. He will perform with the Nigel Kennedy Quintet on 2 April, at the stunning Palace of Arts. Opera lovers will be able to see Puccini’s Turandot and Haydn’s The Soul of the Philosopher performed at the opulent Hungarian State Opera House, which is one of the cheapest places in Europe to see these world-renowned operas where tickets can often be purchased on the day of performance for under 6 Euro’s or in UK money under a fiver. Classical music fans will be able to take their pick from many orchestras including the Budapest Philharmonic Orchestra, the Hungarian Symphony Orchestra and the Scottish Chamber Orchestra.

Those looking for a more alternative cultural scene will find contemporary bands, theatre groups and performance artists at the Fringe Festival, plus belly dancers, storytellers and fire jugglers.

With the special winter hotel promotion ( running in Budapest until the end of March, where visitors can get ‘free’ nights at many of the city’s most popular hotels, it’s the perfect excuse to treat yourself to a Spring break and enjoy the lively festival atmosphere in one of Europe’s most stunning capitals. Hotel prices start from €219 for a three night stay over the weekend of 20-23 March for two people in a double/twin room, including a buffet breakfast, at the centrally located 3* Promenade Hotel, on the main shopping street of Vaci utca. For more information and to book visit To find out more about the Budapest Spring Festival visit To find out more about Hungary visit

Hungary and the Czech Republic are now the best travel bargains on the planet for UK visitors according to a recent survey by the British Post office.

PRESS TRIPS Journalists that plan to cover Hungary later on in the year and wish to discuss possible press trip opportunities in 2009 should get in touch with Karin Jones, PR consultant for Hungarian National Tourist Office (Tues & Weds) Tel: 07908 488 492
Email: or

Discover Germany
Cities active holidays, holiday regions, scenic routes, lifestyle and highlights 2009. The brand new “Discover Germany” brochure 2009/10 covers it all and is available from the German National tourist office

Discover Austria
From March to April the Brandnertal “Joys of March “spring package offer a free five day ski pass.

Visitors can enjoy the wonderful ski slopes beneath the springtime sunshine in the Brandnertal. Pure skiing enjoyment awaits on 55km of slopes. They can jump aboard the new, spectacular Burtscha Panorama Lift and sail across to the slopes of the Bürserberg or take the six-seater Gulmabahn chair lift up to an elevation of 1800m and switch to the Melkboden and Glattjoch. No matter what the decision, everyone can meet up again for lunch at an inviting sunny terrace located within the ski area.

Thought not a Sun, Sand and Sea destination, Slovakia in summer is one of the most attractive countries in Europe. Visited for its beautiful historical towns, mighty castles and unique wooden churches, perfectly interwoven with a magic Carpathian landscape, this country is Europe’s best kept secret place for summer holidays.

Slovakia’s mountains with a half dozen national parks located in the heart of the country provide excellent opportunities for all kinds of activities: from family holiday walks to attractive alpine hikes and horse-riding. Those with strong nerves can always enjoy paragliding or wild-river rafting, while others can just cool off in the beautiful Slovak caves or breathe fresh mountain air and appreciate broad vistas. (Courtesy of “Enjoy Slovakia” web site)

Welcome to Krakow
A city wrapped in legend, where time flows differently, and where every moment becomes a moment of history. For centuries Krakow was the capital of Poland, the seat of kings, drawing great scholars and artists from the whole world. It is their talents and imagination we must thank for the city's rich legacy of unique historical relics, which reflect the most important trends in European culture. The renaissance Royal Castle at Wawel, the gothic St Mary's Basilica, the historical trade pavilions of the Cloth Hall, the former separate Jewish city of Kazimierz, and even the Nowa Huta district, absorbed by Krakow together with its socialist-realist, industrial architecture, are all places which make a visit to Krakow extremely worthwhile.

Moravian Wine and Wine trails
The wine-making tradition in Moravia reaches as far back as the Roman times in the 3rd century A.D. and together with Bohemian wines, they were already renowned and popular all over Europe in the middle Ages. Over the past ten years, Moravian and Bohemian wines have undergone high quality development and now belong among the best wines of Central Europe. They are known for their interesting spectrum of aromas, rich extractive materials and harmony connected with a full taste with refreshing acids of white wines. Wine is produced in the Czech Republic in two regions: the wine region of Moravian (96% of vineyards) and the wine region of Bohemia (4% of vineyards).

The Moravian wine trails constitute a unique network of regional cycling routes taking in the best of the local wine areas and monuments in South Moravia. The main Moravian Wine Trail links Znojmo and Uherské Hradiště and links ten individual circuits, each leading round one particular wine-growing area. With a length of almost 1,200 kilometers the trails lead through vineyards, orchards and along many local roads.

Star News letter November 2008

Poland and the Simplon Orient Express Who would ever have believed that the Orient Express would serve Polish dumplings! With the addition now of Krakow, to add to   Vienna, Budapest and Prague, on its journeys across Central Europe,   passengers travelling on the Orient Express   can now sample the finest Polish cuisine in the true tradition of the Orient Express  whilst  at the same time  enjoying the magnificent views of the Tatra Mountains as the train travels from Vienna through Slovakia to Krakow.  For the first time, in 2009 the Orient Express will twice travel to Krakow, in July and October. All aboard for a dream journey and a brief encounter of a golden age with no race to the final destination.

Equestrian Holidays in Central Europe.
Central Europe is spoilt for choice when it comes to Equestrian Holidays. Dude ranches, riding camps for kids, as well as posh horse vacations to spoil the most discerning taste and most experienced riders, are to be found right across the region.  Austria, The Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia offer amazing trails amidst the most wonderful country side away from the madding crowd. The National parks and forests can be discovered on horseback and riders can follow in the hoof steps of legendary horsemen such as Attila the king of the horse riding Huns.

Central Europe does have a long tradition and history to back up its boast of being the best in the world for the equestrian looking for a new experience.  More detailed Information is available from all the countries National tourist offices.

KPMG Golf Business Forum 2009
The Celtic Manor Resort Wales May 4-6

KPMG have announced the venue for the 2009 Golf Business Forum with once again Gill Wilson CECTA CEO the convener for the two day event. Celtic Manor is the venue for the 2010 Ryder cup a wonderful  location  easily accessible and  the perfect venue for the worlds leading Golf Forum.

Without doubt this is the worlds leading Golf event and a unique platform for the professionals involved in the golf industry. In particular, with Golf tourism playing an ever more important role across Central Europe, National and Regional tourism authorities should consider attending to learn how the leading  and emerging countries with golf tourism high on their agenda are developing and marketing this very unique product.  Golf tourism   is   expanding at a rapid rate across the world with high yield income and earning large revenues to add to   countries tourism balance sheets. The Countries and the professionals operating in the golf business across Central Europe would find attendance at this event invaluable plus the opportunity to play at the Ryder cup venue.  click onto  KPMG  Golf Business Forum.

Unique Christmas markets in the Rhineland-Palatinate

Chrismas Markets

The Moselle and Rhine region is perfect for a romantic Christmas mini-break.  Festively lit half-timbered buildings and the aroma of mulled wine fill the air at traditional Christmas markets. Guests can snuggle up in cosy hotels and enjoy relaxed Christmas shopping.

Rüdesheim, the famous wine-producing town in the romantic Rhine Valley, for example, hosts its lovely Christmas market from 24 November to 23 December 2008. Or visit the Christmas market at Cochem, set in the old town and overlooked by the famous Reichsburg.

Good King Wenceslas
At this time of the year it’s a timely reminder that by Prague Castle is also St Vitus Cathedral which took six centuries to build and houses not only the Crown Jewels but also the tomb of “Good King Wenceslas”. 

Austria is a fascinating country to visit at any time of the year   but the weeks from late November to the end of the year hold a special meaning and visitors can  become familiar with some of the many and most  colourful and  romantic events.

Christmas markets are a long-standing and typically Austrian tradition. In Vienna, for instance, the market  which can be traced back to 1298  is held in the large square in front of City Hall.  Innsbruck opens its romantic Christmas market in the narrow medieval square at the foot of the Golden Roof. In Salzburg, the Christmas market takes over the whole  square.  December is a  great time to visit Austria and do a little Christmas shopping. Mondial Travel have some great offerings.

World Travel Market
The World Travel market in London was another great success and cecta had the opportunity of again meeting many of our friends and business partners. The business environment is going to be very difficult over the next few years and cecta looks forward to playing  a role in growing tourism across the region and in particular developing as yet, many under developed  niche markets.

Star News letter October 2008

Golf in Central Europe
With the announcement that the PGA European tour is to schedule four events   in Central Europe in 2009, including an inaugural  one in the Czech Republic and a further three in Austria and Germany,  this is  a unique and  exciting  kick start for golf tourism in Central Europe. For too long  Central Europe has been one of golf’s hidden secrets but  with major golf events in Germany, the Mercedes –Benz staged in Cologne and the BMW in Munich, Central Europe can boast four of the world’s major Professional Tour Events.

The Fontana golf and sports club close to Vienna will host the Austrian Open from  11 – 14 June 2009. This wonderful club with the most eloquent recreational facilities is the perfect venue for the Austrian Open and a wonderful showcase for Austrian golf courses.

The Czech Open a new event on the tours schedule will be staged at the Prosper Golf club situated in the Moravian- Silesia region of the Czech Republic one of the most beautiful regions of the country. The club, set amidst forests, mountains and protected natural reserves is the perfect setting for this international event. The course designed by Miquel Angel Jimenez, a major figure on the European tour, will be a great challenge for the worlds leading professional players and an exciting  venue for the TV cameras to show the world that golf in Central Europe is no longer a hidden secret.    What next?  Maybe a Central European Open?

Ski Boards at the ready
Seven Austrian major ski resorts are taking part in the Fresher’s ski week an initiative offering free ski tuition, lift passes and equipment hire to genuine first timers. More details The site also lists all the ski resorts available in Austria.

It is also a timely reminder that the Carpathian Mountains also offer a wonderful skiing destination. Slovakia have the Low and high Tatras to lure both the novice and the experienced skier to over 100 Ski centres and yes they do have ski lifts.

The Warsaw tourist card is a great bargain for visitors making sightseeing easier then ever. The tourist card offers discounts and free offers at Museums, public transport tickets, art galleries, sports facilities, sightseeing, restaurants, clubs and car rental. More details at

Spa Show and Independent Adventure show
Olympia London
20 – 22 March 2009
The Spa show and Independent Adventure show scheduled on the same dates at Olympia in 2009 will ensure that exhibitors gain maximum benefit from the large number of visitors at both shows. The Spa show will, for the first time, bring together the countries of Central Europe that have Spa Tourism as a major focus. These countries have made a commitment under the cecta umbrella along with Danubius, Central Europe’s major Spa resort company, to be at this major event in 2009.  Dedicated to the Spa resorts tourism and spa industry and run alongside and adjacent to the Independent Adventure Show the two shows will attract 20,000 visitors which include 2000 corporate buyers on the first day of the show. See you there!


Charlottenburg Palace

Germany’s palaces, parks & gardens provide a truly enchanting setting for the country’s famous Christmas markets.

For instance, Glücksburg Castle on the Baltic Sea, cradle of European royalty, features its very own market during the first advent weekend with the lit up bridge across the castle moat leading to the courtyard with its festively decorated stalls. Or try the famous Wartburg in Eisenach with its medieval Christmas market and Christmas concerts in the historical surroundings of this UNESCO World Heritage Site, held during the four weekends before Christmas.

Berlin’s Charlottenburg Palace is an impressive setting for enjoying your mulled wine in style. For the second time the market is taking place this year from 24 November to 18 December featuring the "Biedermeier" period between 1815 and 1848 plus about 50 illuminated Christmas trees.

For more information order your Christmas market brochure from the German National Tourist Office (GNTO) email

Winter short breaks
The festive season is fast approaching and Christmas fairs across the whole of Central Europe are one of the many unique and memorable features on offer and a plus for the winter short breaks market. In cities and towns across Austria, Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia, the run up to Christmas is marked by these extraordinary and delightful events. Germany boasts over 2500 Christmas markets and in Cologne alone there are six fairs and festive boat trips on the Rhine. Dresden offers the tallest Christmas pyramid and the Hamburg city square comes alive making it a memorable occasion. In Budapest’s Vorosmarty Square, in Prague’s old town, in Brno and in the Heart of Bratislava, Christmas lights and delicious aromas fill the air. Poland also claims its tradition of Christmas markets in cities such as Krakow, Gdansk and Wroclaw. With low air fares and off season accommodation rates, this is the perfect time of the year to buy Christmas presents or just soak up the traditional atmosphere and charm of the towns and cities of Central Europe, many with a unique medieval and baroque history.

World Travel market London 2008
Despite the world wide economic downturn the WTM in November promises to be as busy and exciting as ever. CECTA will be visiting the show and hopes to meet many of its members during the week.

Star News letter August 2008

Spa Show and Independent Adventure Show
Olympia London
20 – 22 March 2009
The Spa Show, dedicated to Spa Resorts, Tourism and the Spa Industry and the Independent Adventure Show are scheduled on the same dates at Olympia in 2009 ensuring that exhibitors gain maximum benefit from the combined visitors at both shows. With an expected 20,000 visitors including 2,000 corporate buyers on the first day, the Spa Show will, for the first time, bring together the countries of Central Europe that have Spa Tourism as one of their main focuses. These countries have made a commitment under the CECTA umbrella along with Danubius, Central Europe’s major Spa resort company, to be at this major event in 2009. UK consumer spend on Wellness and Beauty is estimated to be worth annually £19 million. A massive publicity campaign is planned leading up to these shows and with the national daily newspaper “The Independent” as Sponsor of the Adventure Show and the newspapers travel editor “Simon Calder” having his own BBC travel programmes, a quality audience is virtually guaranteed

Matej Sanitrar from Via Carpathia brings news of an exciting new arts and music festival in the town of Levoca in Slovakia. The festival has a wonderful name Indian summer in Levoca. A music festival in the heart of Europe from 27th September to 5th of October.

The town is set in a region with centuries old traditions and is aiming to establish itself as one of the leading annual culture celebrations of Central Europe and it has the credentials to achieve this. The historic town centre is a perfect setting for an International Arts Festival. The town boasts a square dating back to the 13th century and a beautiful 18th century theatre. The ruins of the mighty Spis Castle is now a UNESCO world heritage site and a wonderful museum for keyboard instruments. The music programme for the festival features works by Dvorak, Schumann, Mozart, Wagner and Liszt, including Dvorak’s serenade and Mozart’s Malediction.

Levoca is situated close to the high Tatras and the Slovak Paradise National Park, close to Poprad airport and with ample hotel accommodation. Via Carpathia can help with travel arrangements
Festival web site

The Slovakia Tourist Office is to open its first UK tourist office in September this year and this is very good news. The new office will distribute information about Slovakia and for the first time will be offering media trips for journalists and tour operators, which CECTA has been arranging for the past ten years often combined with study tours to other Central European countries. Mary Stewart–Miller, of the Creative Connection, has been appointed to manage this office and we welcome her to this new position.

Aqua City Poprad has been selected as the venue for the first World Green Travel Awards which will take place on 6 September 2008. The green awards will recognise the contribution tourism organisations are making towards conserving the planet and advancing green tourism. This is a great accolade to Aqua City and to Slovakia and further enhances the credentials of Central Europe as an eco friendly tourist destination with its natural spa resorts and great outdoor activities in natural surroundings.

Mice in Poland
The Central European Business Tourism Fair will be held in Warsaw at the Palace of Culture from the 19 – 20 of November 2008 with 150 exhibitors. The London office of the Polish National Tourist Office are organising a study tour for both tour operators and the media from the UK and Ireland. Details are available from or 44(0)208 991 7074.

Polish WOW! Factor
A Facebook page on everything that makes people go WOW! about Poland has been attracting even more fans. The first winner of a prize for the best entry on this blog won a weekend stay in Lódz - in a hotel located in the vibrant city centre, including a guided tour of the city and a complimentary dinner courtesy of the City of Lódz.

So if you've experienced Poland yourself, you might have the edge in the next competition and win a weekend for two in magical Kraków, courtesy of the Municipality of Kraków with complimentary passes to the biggest aqua park in Poland, courtesy of the Park Wodny Kraków

Congratulation to the Gdansk Golf and Country Club for being listed in the top 100 clubs in Europe on the world ranking list.

Budapest will again promote four nights for the price of three during its Budapest invasion promotion from December 2008 to 31 March 2009. This is the third year this promotion has successfully grown tourism to the city and has proved a boom to off season traffic.

Good news from Lake Balaton.
Hotels at Lake Balaton received slightly more guests (485,000) during the first six months of 2008, and the number of domestic tourists grew by 2.6%. 1,488,000 guest nights were recorded at the lake, whilst the number of foreign guest nights declined by 2.7%, the number of Hungarian guest nights remained unchanged. 40% of guest nights were reported from the thermal and wellness hotels of Zala county; 3- and 4-star hotels around the lake proved the most popular accommodation.

While interest from the traditional markets - Austria and Germany - decreased, the number of Danish guests doubled and a 50% increase was registered from the Czech Republic, Netherlands, Ukraine and North America.

The contract for the organization of the Formula 1 Hungarian Grand Prix has been extended by 5 years, thus guaranteeing Hungary a slot in the race calendar until 2016

6th Business Travel Show
Exhibition and hub for corporate travellers and travel organizers
SYMA Sport and Event Centre (1146 Budapest, Dózsa György út 1.) 10 am – 6 pm 15-16 October 2008

The Business Travel Show, the most important forum in Hungary for tourism service providers and businesses, is being staged in Budapest for the sixth occasion. The two-day Business Travel Show offers a unique opportunity for hotels, airlines, travel agencies, event venue operators, and in fact any service providers with a clientele interested in travel, to make direct presentations to potential customers: business travellers and corporate travel organizers, corporate event and training organizers. Don’t miss this opportunity!

Further information and registration:

Several Austrian towns and villages are promoting the concept of car-free holidays and low-traffic or vehicle-free zones. At the Alpine resorts of Werfenweng, Neukirchen am Grossvenediger and Hinterstoder, for example, subsidised shuttle buses are on hand to transfer visitors to and from the train station and hiking and cycling trails. Solar powered cars and electric bicycles can be hired at minimal cost, and guests are also provided with free mobile phones with which to hire taxis.

For rail tickets to Austria please contact: Deutsche Bahn UK Booking Centre on 08718 80 80 66 (8p per minute) or email or visit

Austria will celebrate the bi-centennial of Haydn in 2009 and the Austrian National tourist office is organising preview festival press trips. Details

Austria continues to promote in the UK its golf heritage and golf tourism with its annual golf event, this year on 25 September at the Dulwich and Sydenham Hill Golf club close to London, again hosted by Franz Klammer along with a host of golf venues from Austria. Congratulations to Oskar Hinterreger for this the 11th year of this event.

Czech Republic.
A hosted buyer’s programme is available for the 15th Madi Travel market in Prague from 4 – 6 November 2008. This is a strictly Business to Business event with 500 exhibitors and 5000 trade visitors dedicated to incoming travel.


A reminder that Prague is not the only city in the Czech Republic. Brno, for example, with a population of 400,000 can be reached by road rail and air. Two hours east of Prague by road or rail and one hour north of Vienna, Brno in the heart of southern Moravia wine country has great deal to offer the visitor. Hiking and biking, folk festivals UNESCO sites and famous for its open hearted southern Moravian hospitality and a stones throw from the wonderful town of Mikulov with it castle and the largest wine cask in the world.

Hiking in Germany
The Rhine Palatinate region is the perfect setting for the dedicated rambler. The Rhine and Moselle offer everything a rambler’s heart could desire, breath taking landscapes and some of Germany’s most scenic and popular trails.

The “Reinsteig” running along the Eastern Banks of the Rhine for 320 KM through villages, castles and vineyards feature spectacular views across magnificent river scenery.
More details

Gabor Tarr a past president of CECTA and Director of the London Office of the Hungarian National Tourist office until his retirement has been awarded the Gold Cross of merit of The Republic of Hungary by the President of Hungary for his work in London developing British Hungarian Tourism relationships. This has been richly earned award and cecta would like to add its congratulation and a recognition that his role in CECTA greatly contributed to these relationships and the development of tourism to the countries of Central Europe.

Star News letter May 2008

The Adventure Travel Show London
The Independent- the quality daily newspaper in the UK, renowned for its innovation and creativity has joined with Expomedia the organisers of the Adventure Travel Show to stage the 2009 event. The event scheduled for 20-22 March 2009, at the prestigious Olympia National Hall in Central London, will bring together the best of the world’s adventure and active holidays under one roof. Cecta is recommending this event to all its members and will be advising the organisers how the countries of Central Europe can best benefit from an involvement and of the specific needs of all the business’s for the countries of Central Europe. CECTA with its involvement with the Adventure show and the Spa show at the same venue and on the same dates will offer a unique opportunity to project the most vital and attractive aspects of tourism across Central Europe and to both the travel industry and the consumer.

KPMG Golf Business Forum 2008
The 5th KPMG Golf Business Forum held this year at the Ritz Carlton at Powers Court just outside of Dublin followed on from the success of the four previous events and attracted an attendance of 350 delegates from over 40 countries. CECTA CEO Gill Wilson was the moderator, the speakers and delegates were all Captains of the golf industry from around the world, and Jack Nicklaus the guest of honour was presented with the lifetime achievement award. It was also clear that Central and Eastern Europe as emerging golf markets have at last arrived on the radar screens of everyone in the industry and rapid growth is predicted for the whole region. Emphasis though was again made by many of the speakers and delegates that the private and public sector must work together and if government procrastinates over development plans progress will be slow and to stay competitive there is an urgent need for the region to catch up with the rest of the world. George O’Grady, executive director of the European Tour, forecast that in the near future Golf will become an Olympic sport and supported by the professional tours. Becoming an Olympic sport will add a great deal of impetus to growing the sport at grass roots level encouraging more young men and women to take up the game. click on Golf business forum.

Polish Golf Conference
The 2nd Golf Business conference held in Warsaw in Poland in April was also a great success. The line-up of speakers Denise Adams, David Maclaren Michael Pask Jerry Kirby, Terry Coates, Marek Podstolski, Geoff Russell, Mark Casey, Jeff Howes and Tony Bennet, covered a wide range of topics and all focussed on the development and growth of golf and golf tourism across Central and Eastern Europe. The region is at last becoming recognised as having a big future and a major role to play in the global golf industry. cecta has played a leading role for many years in encouraging both government and the private sector to recognise this and it is encouraging to see this now coming to fruition. More details on the conference click on Golf conference

World Choir Games Graz 2008
Austria is not all soccer this year and there is no better example of this then the World Choir Games scheduled for the beautiful city of Graz a UNESCO world cultural heritage site from July 9th to 19th. The City will welcome choirs from over 90 nations to this unique event. The emphasis will be very much on young performers plus brass bands folk dance and with a festival of over 1000 concerts this will be a great time to visit Austria. More info.

Hungary Honours Gabor Tarr
Gabor Tarr remembered by many for his dedication to Hungarian tourism and the tourism industry during his lengthy stay in the UK when he headed up the Hungarian National tourist office in London has been awarded a Knighthood by his country and we are sure many of his friends will want to congratulate him. . Gabor held many other positions during his days in London none less then the President of cecta

News letter April 2008

Spas of Central Europe
Central Europe boasts the world’s greatest spas for relaxation, health and rejuvenation. The following testimonial from Dr Lesley Coates, a recent visitor to the Danubius Spa resort in Budapest, is a further endorsement of what CECTA has always claimed - Central European Spas are the finest in the world! Austria, Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia easily accessible by road, rail and air offer the finest and most varied of treatments for the most discerning visitor.

“I used to be a practical, down-to-earth sort of girl. My skincare regime was simple and inexpensive: I did not indulge in fancy body lotions or creams and I suspect that my cat spent more time on washing and grooming than I did!

The Danubius Health Spa Resort Margitsziget in Budapest is a delightful place to stay and is one of the top metropolitan spa hotels in Europe. The hotel is ideally situated on Budapest’s Margaret Island (a good base for sightseeing) and is surrounded by hundred-year old chestnut trees, a Japanese garden and the ruins of a monastery. The spa facilities utilise three of the island’s natural thermal springs and the newly designed pool area has lovely views overlooking the garden and woodland landscape. Comfortable rather than luxurious, the ambience is reassuringly calm and soothingly functional. The occasional whiff of pampering - fluffy white towelling robes to wear as you wander from thermal pools, sauna, therapy room and beauty salon - is ideal.

A staggering array of traditional ‘therapeutic’ and ‘well-being’ treatments are available and if, like me, you are unfamiliar with the health spa experience it can be difficult to know what options to go for. Study the brochure carefully and seek advice from the helpful staff. If possible, book your treatments before you arrive, particularly if your stay is for a few days only. I chose to concentrate on the well-being, relaxation and beauty facilities on offer as follows:

  • 1. The Hungarian Wine Cream Massage (50 minutes) was divine and a great way to relax after the flight from London, Gatwick. The massage treatment used a unique massage cream made from Hungarian wines and has the reputation for being one of the Spa’s ‘Hungarian Specialities’
  • 2. The Cosmetic Pedicure with Varnishing (60 minutes) was a new experience for me and thoroughly enjoyable. My feet were gently massaged and scrubbed to an enviable smoothness. My toenails were tidied and buffed and the French varnish made my pinkies look good enough to eat

  • 3. Salt Cave (60 minutes). I was sceptical about the therapeutic benefits of the ‘artificial’ salt cave room. Designed to be relaxing and atmospheric, it also claimed to be effective in the treatment of respiratory conditions. I was determined not to enjoy the experience of breathing in this special salty air whilst listening to the sound of mewing gulls and sea water crashing about on a beach. To my surprise, I found the session incredibly relaxing and walked out of the cave feeling like a limp starfish.

The Kneipp treatments have been named after Sebastian Kneipp, a German priest who lived in the 19th Century. They work on the principle of exposing the body to alternate temperatures of hot and cold water. Soaking in a bath of hot water as it slowly cools has never appealed to me and I was glad when the session ended. My companions, however, loved the treatment and could have stayed in the bath forever. On the positive side, the oils did smell nice and my skin felt wonderfully smooth and clean after the treatment.

The Wellness Mud Pack (60 minutes) was reputed to be an excellent therapy for replenishing lost minerals from the body and cleaning out the pores of the skin. The thought of being covered in mud from head to toe had to be my ultimate health spa nightmare. But the treatment was not nearly as unpleasant as I expected – I actually quite enjoyed it. The mud was hot, it did not smell and did not dry to form a hard unpleasant crust on the skin. I felt relaxed after the treatment and my skin was deliciously smooth.

When I showed up for the Manicure with French Varnish (60 minutes) the beautician must have looked at my hands and cursed under her breath. My nails were chipped with horrible uneven ridges and my cuticles looked rough and jagged. I walked out of the room an hour later a changed woman. My pearly nails gleamed and they had beautiful white tips. The remarkable transformation was a credit to the beautician’s skill and tenacity.

The Clarins Pro Facial Treatment (75 minutes) was probably the best treatment of all. My face and neck was massaged, cleansed, exfoliated and buffed to perfection. My skin positively glowed and felt soft and silky for days.

During the intervals between treatments, there was plenty of time to enjoy the thermal pools, sauna and the excellent facilities in the Gym. One could even relax with a drink in the bar! We also had time to venture outside the hotel, see the sights, enjoy the opera and sample the excellent Hungarian cuisine. At the end of my three day trip, I felt invigorated and toned, perky, mentally and physically refreshed. “ Dr Lesley Coates

For more details about the different treatments and packages available, costs and other services visit

Austrian Spas
This collection of 15 of the most exceptional 4- and 5-star spas in Austria offers truly relaxing and revitalising year-round holiday experiences for every generation. Each hotel is of the highest of international spa standards, full of traditional Austrian warmth and character, and is either family-run or privately-owned, with staff dedicated to creating a welcoming atmosphere. These wonderful hotels are located on mountaintops or valleys in the most beautiful and healthy of surroundings.

Arranged under the classifications of alpine, thermal or medical spa, each of Austria’s Finest Spa Hotels & Resorts features a range of different options – therapeutic alpine treatments, mineral-rich waters, first-class medical supervision, tailored fitness offers, balanced nutrition, and a friendly ambiance - to create that special something that every Austria spa hotel is known for.

Spa holidays across Central Europe offer good quality treatment options, plus excellent rates, and none more so than in Austria. Austria is a four-season destination conveniently served by many direct flights and easily accessible by road and rail too offering relaxing weekend breaks and longer restorative holidays at Austria’s Finest Spa Hotels.

For information on Austria's Finest Spa Hotels & Resorts.
For free Spa Hotels and resorts brochure

Spa International 20 – 22 March 2009 London
At Olympia National Hall

Expomedia Group Plc have announced the launch of Spa International - London, the UK premier consumer event dedicated to spa and resort tourism at one of the most established and prestigious London venues – Olympia National Hall.

The event is planned for 20 - 22 March 2009, a period associated with increased consumer bookings for the summer and autumn/winter holiday season.

CECTA will be directly associated with this event in London taking a lead role in ensuring that Central Europe is well represented.

News letter March 2008

5th Annual KPMG Golf Business Forum
Jack Nicklaus, arguably history's greatest golfer and one of today's most recognized global ambassadors of the game, will attend the 5th annual KPMG Golf Business Forum in person to receive the Golf Business Forum Lifetime Achievement Award.

Nicklaus, a winner of a record 18 professional major championships among his 118 professional victories worldwide, and, for the past 40 years, one of the golf business' most industry-shaping and prolific golf course designers, will receive the award in front of an expected audience of more than 300 international industry professionals at The Ritz-Carlton Powerscourt Hotel, near Dublin, Ireland, May 12-14, 2008.

"Jack Nicklaus is not only one of the greatest sportsmen and athletes of all time, he is a giant of the international golf business," said Andrea Sartori, head of KPMG's Golf Advisory Services Team in Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMA). "We are honored and privileged that Mr. Nicklaus will attend the Golf Business Forum to receive the Lifetime Achievement Award, and lend his monumental presence to our event."

The Golf Business Forum, which has established itself as the leading golf business event for EMA, will this year focus on 'Golf Resorts and Golf Communities' and will feature a glittering array of expert speakers offering insight on a variety of compelling industry topics.

For more information about the Golf Business Forum, or to register, visit:

Easter in Central Europe
Easter is a special time in all the countries of Central Europe and a great time to visit when spring is in the air. Religious ceremonies which mirror the rich musical and cultural heritage are very much to the fore across the whole region in cities towns and villages. In Prague Easter comes alive with traditional markets in the Old Town Square and Wencelas Square and Easter markets are to be found in towns across Slovakia and Hungary too. In Austria the 2008 Oster-Klanz Music festival with music from the Vienna Philharmonic from March 14th to 24th with Bach’s St Johns Passion is just another one of the highlights. All of this and more is very much reflected in Poland, and while religious ceremonies follow the rituals of the Christian church, Easter celebrations also reflect many elements of the richness of native Polish culture.

Celebration of Easter in Poland is preceded by the Holy Week, as it is across all the countries of Central Europe, which begins on Palm Sunday. Palm branches and twigs are indispensable accessories of the events taking place on this day, except that the original Easter palm branch is replaced by a willow or raspberry branch and is richly decorated with ribbons, flowers, and leaves.

Palm Sunday celebrations in the Polish village Lipnica Murowana near Krakow is exceptionally spectacular - some of the palms being as high as 30 meters!

On the morning of Holy Thursday, the vestments are changed on the miraculous icon in the chapel of the Pauline monastery at Jasna Gora in Czestochowa. This is one of the most important religious sites in Poland, venerated as a national shrine since 14th century.

On Holy Saturday, services to commemorate the resurrection are accompanied by processions whilst inside the churches, priests sprinkle holy water on small baskets brought by the congregation, filled with cakes, eggs, horseradish, sausages, ham, salt, pepper, and tiny sugar lambs. The consecration of eggs refers to egg being an ancient symbol of life. The custom of colouring eggs for Easter is still observed. Painted eggs called 'malowanki', 'pisanki' or 'raszanki' are often true masterpieces of art.

As well as eggs, cakes are very important ingredients of Polish Easter. "Mazurek" is a flat cake, usually on a pastry or a wafer, covered with paste of nuts, almonds, cheese etc., colourfully iced and decorated with jam and nuts and raisins. On top of this, imaginative decorations are placed, such as eggs of icing; willow branches made of marzipan or chocolate flowers.

On Easter Monday there is also another ancient Easter tradition called "Smingus-Dyngus" - a custom of pouring water on one another.

One week after Easter, an interesting event takes place in Krakow. The hero of the festivity is "lajkonik" or a man disguised as Tatar, riding a peculiar kind of hobby horse. The custom dates back to the 17th century. The legend says of an unexpected Tatar foray on the Krakow province in the 13th century. A brave young craftsman, having gathered a group of companions, defeated the invaders and returned to town wearing the colourful outfit of a Tatar khan. During the Tatar attack, the legend then follows, a Tatar arrow struck in the throat a Krakow trumpeter, who from the spire of the church of the Holy Virgin tried to alarm citizens of the danger. Since that time, Krakow bugle-call, sounded every hour from the tower of the church, breaks abruptly. (extract from Polish National tourist office news letter)

Congratulations to Krakow
On the 23rd January, at a gala event accompanying the Holiday Travel Show in Dublin attended by over 620 travel industry and media representatives, the city of Krakow was awarded the 'Best European City Destination 2007' prize by the Irish Travel Trade News.


News letter January 2008

Austria that winter wonderland, is ringing in the new year with plenty of snow and sunshine. Up to the minute information can be found easily on including information on hotels and all the regions across the country. Austria is also preparing for an influx of visitors to the European Fooball Championships this year. Questions about UEFA 2008 including tickets and hotel accommodation can be answered on the football hot line 00800 400 200 00 or email

Budapest Specials

Romance is in the air with Valentine’s Day creeping up fast. As part of the Budapest Winter Invasion Tourism Promotion a number of hotels in the city are offering discount deals until the end of March where you can stay four nights but only pay for three . For example, the Hilton Budapest is holding a romantic Valentine dinner dance for €40pp and a room rate of just €74pp including taxes and sumptuous buffet breakfast, € 222pp for a 4 nights stay. For further information visit

Malev the Hungarian national carrier’s latest online competition, e-Malév,promotes both travel and ticket booking over the Internet. Anyone reserving an air ticket on the airline’s website and registering, stands a chance of winning a Budapest wellness or sightseeing weekend with a pair of free tickets. The promotion popularising reservations via the Internet is further boosting the already dynamic growth in online sales of air tickets at the airline.

Czech Republic
The Czech Republic boasts over 2000 preserved Castles and Chateaux, more per square mile then any other country in the world and an important part of the countries cultural heritage. They are spread right across the country in Towns and Cities such as Cesky Krumlov, Lednice, Karstein and Cesky Sternberk and of course the magnificent Prague Castle set in one of the worlds most beautiful Cities. The Czech Republic is truly a fairy wonderland.

More on

The High and Low Tatra Mountains are gaining a great reputation for winter sports and there and it is not always appreciated that there are over 1000 ski lifts in over one hundred Ski Centres across the country. Plenty to satisfy both the novice and the experienced Skier. More on www.slovakia.trave

KPMG Golf Business Forum Dublin May 12-14 2008

A reminder that the most successful of all the Global Golf conferences will take place in Ireland in 2008 at the prestigious Ritz-Carlton Powescourt, located close to Dublin. Now in its fifth successful year and with Gill Wilson CECTA CEO again the moderator the KPMG Golf Business Forum promises to be attended by real estate developers and investors, golf industry leaders, owners/operators of golf clubs, master planners and architect firms, National and Regional tourism authorities, banks and equity funds, golf tour operators, and media representatives from around the world. One not to be missed.

More information

Polish Golf conference
The 2nd Polish Golf Business Conference, will take place on 23rd -25th of April 2008 in Warsaw, Poland. The Conference organised by Golf Poland company is one of the most important meeting grounds for the golf undustry in this rapidly developing region of Central and Eastern Europe.

A unique group of international experts who will be speaking during The Conference include, Denise Adams, David MacLaren, Michael Pask, Jerry Kilby, Terry Coates from CECTA, Marek Podstolski, Geoff Russell, Mark Casey, Jeff Howes, Lodewijk Klootwijk and Tony Bennet.

All the speakers have a great deal of experience and knowledge in the International golf business sector. Denise Adams is an international expert and author of over 80 club programmes for golf clubs all over the world. David MacLaren is the director of the PGA European Tour courses . Michael Pask is a Director of the world’s largest company involved in sport marketing. Jerry Kilby , President of Sport Facilities Managers Union, has long term experience in managing the finest golf courses. Terry Coates, who will be a speaker for the second time on GBC has spent a lifetime in the tourism industry, with a special emphasis on this occassion on golf tourism. Marek Podstolski is second time president of PGA of Poland. Geoff Russell Media specialist and owner of a specialist web portal will also be presenting his views. Mark Casey from the Ladies European Tour is Director of International Development and The Solheim Cup. Jeff Howes is one of the out standing golf course archtects in Ireland with a wide porfolio of international projects .Lodewijk Klootwijk is chief executive of European Golf Course Owners Association and Tony Bennet is the new Director of Education at the PGAs' of Europe with experience in developing coaching.

The 2nd Golf Business Conference offers the opportunity for networking as well as access to the most up to date information within the golf industry. Traditionally the event will start with a golf tournament followed by two days of presentations. Information and registration can be found on

News letter November 2007

KPMG Golf business forum Dublin 2008
KPMG have announced that Ireland will be the destination for the 5th Golf business forum and that the venue will be The Ritz-Carlton Powerscourt located In County Wicklow 16 miles from the centre of Dublin.

This is a fantastic venue with two 18 hole championship golf courses and a fitting venue for the worlds leading golf conference that cecta has supported since the first event in Budapest during which time the development of golf across Central Europe has grown in leaps and bounds. Without doubt the Golf Business Forum has contributed greatly to this growth and helped to raise the profile of golf across all the CECTA countries.

The conference is a unique forum for professionals involved in the golf business industry and in particular golf tourism and a conference not to be missed. Registration is now open on or click on the home page of

PGA Senior’s Tour schedules
Poland and Czech Republic 2008

The European PGA tour has announced for the first time that the Men’s Senior Tour have signed a contract for an event in The Czech Republic in 2008 along with a history breaking event in Poland. This is fantastic news for Central European golf tourism, with TV coverage and the worlds leading senior professionals guaranteed to be present, golf tourism is bound to gain a new impetus. In Poland the event will take place close to Krakow at Krakow Valley golf club from 30th May to 1st June 2008 . The Prize fund of Euro. 280 000 will surely attract an outstanding field. Krakow Valley Golf Course is set in thick forest land with wonderful scenery and amongst the leading courses in Europe and a worthy venue for the expansion of the tour into Central Europe.

The sponsor of this event is Partridge a major investor in Poland with an appreciation of the power of golf in the world of business.

The second tournament with a prize fund of Euro. 600,000 will take place at the Casa Serena Golf Club close to Prague on September 5th to 7th 2008. The contract for this event was signed in the presence of the Czech Prime Minister and yet another endorsement by Government that golf tourism has a real future in Central Europe and that the countries are ready for lift off. CECTA is proud to have been in the forefront of these developments.

Polish Golf conference
With the development of golf growing at an accelerated rate and the PGA tour now scheduling events in Central Europe it is timely for the second Polish golf event this year to be staged in Warsaw on 23rd to 25th April. This conference is for those in the golf business with a focus on Central and Eastern Europe and its emerging golf market. More details and registration

Musical Heritage
The musical heritage of Central Europe is rich in history with composers, unique to this part of the world, not only renowned the world over but with commemorative music festivals honoring their musical gift to the world constantly taking place in the great concert halls around the globe. CECTA has set its sights in 2008 to further raise the awareness levels of what is on offer across Central Europe and bring to the world a richer and better understanding of how music is still deeply embedded in the culture of the whole region and the birth place of the composers of the great all time musical classics.

Danubius Health Spa Resort Budapest
CECTA recently took a long overdue visit to The Danubius Health Spa resort Margitsziget in Budapest which was recently renovated to harmonize with its beautiful woodland setting in the middle of the River Danube on the Island of Parks. Kniep Baths, Mud Wraps and a Salt Cave for complete relaxation are just a small example of what is on offer for fitness wellbeing relaxation and beauty and for every age group. This is a luxury resort for both the young and the young at heart. The focus is on using the relaxing effects of the thermal waters combined with beauty and preventive programmes. Fitness facilities and Beauty Salons sit alongside bubbling pools of Thermal waters first brought to the surface as long ago as 1886. The Margaret Island Spa is a very special place and as they say in Budapest “The secret is in the thermal waters”.


Newsletter October 2007

Winter short breaks
The festive season is fast approaching and Christmas fairs across the whole of Central Europe are one of the many unique and memorable features on offer and a plus for the winter short breaks market. In cities and towns across Austria, Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia, the run up to Christmas is marked by these extraordinary and delightful events. Germany boasts over 2500 Christmas markets and in Cologne alone there are six fairs and festive boat trips on the Rhine. Dresden offers the tallest Christmas pyramid and the Hamburg city square comes alive making it a memorable occasion. In Budapest’s Vorosmarty Square, in Prague’s old town, in Brno and in the Heart of Bratislava, Christmas lights and delicious aromas fill the air. Poland also claims its tradition of Christmas markets in cities such as Krakow, Gdansk and Wroclaw. With low air fares and off season accommodation rates, this is the perfect time of the year to buy Christmas presents or just soak up the traditional atmosphere and charm of the towns and cities of Central Europe, many with a unique medieval and baroque history.

Winter Wonderland
A reminder that winter sports are a feature of tourism across all the countries of Central Europe and that the High Tatras in the Carpathian Mountain Range are fast becoming a wonderful alternative to the traditional resorts. The Tatras feature heavily in both Poland and Slovakia’s winter offerings, now easily accessible and great value for money. Nonetheles, Austria has some wonderful offerings this winter as a visit to their web site will uncover. One three night package, half board, 3 spa treatments and airport transfers starts as low as 323 GB pounds. Germany also has splendid facilities particularly in the Bavarian Alps.

But of course what really distinguishes Central Europe from the rest of the world is the fantastic après ski activities and foremost is the often forgotten Spas, where across the whole region winter sports enthusiasts can relax, take the waters and pamper themselves in luxurious surroundings.

Central Europe for skiing, surf boarding, tobogganing, sleigh rides, skating and cross country skiing and more, is truly a winter wonderland with magical fairy land scenery and offering wonderful hospitality. All the web sites with all the news on this winter’s activities have links from

The Loreta
A visitor to Prague can never miss hearing the beautiful sound of the bells chiming every hour from the carillon in the clock tower of the famous Loreta. The Prague Pilgrims Place, a church built over 300 years ago by its founder Benigna Katherine von Lobkowitz (The same Lobkowitz family that owns and manages Nelahozeves Castle) has an amazing history dating back to the 17 Century.

The Carillon boasts thirty bells each one having its own sponsor, the first one sponsored by Emperor Leopold the First. Housed here is also the Loreta treasure exhibition. To hear the bells and learn more click on Well worth a visit.

Musical Heritage
Central Europe is the birth place of the most famous and greatest composers of all time and cecta will spread this message around the globe during 2008 but it is a timely reminder to take note of the many musical offerings for this coming winter. A small sample; In Vienna, Strauss and Wagner with Arabella and Die Walkyre and Gounod’s Romeo and Juliette. In Prague in December, Madame Butterfly, Aida, Turandot and Mozart’s Cossi Fan Tutte. Slovakia also has a wonderful programme of performances of Opera and Ballet in both the Historic and modern Theatre of the Slovak National Theatre, has all the details. These are just a small indication of what is on offer throughout the year, and not only in the capital cities. Central Europe not only has a unique musical history but the splendid Opera Houses and Concert Halls, built in times past, continue to produce outstanding concerts with great artists and at prices everyone can afford.

See you at the World Travel market?

News Letter September 2007

The Polish National Tourist Office and cecta held a seminar recently at the Polish Embassy in London for the media and the travel trade to explore the potential for Golf and Spa tourism from the UK to Poland. Speakers from Poland and the UK highlighted the opportunities for the travel industry to package Golf and Spa venues to add to a wide range of active leisure break products currently on offer.

The growth of Spa Tourism across Central Europe and Golf Tourism in all the countries has not always been fully accepted by the UK travel trade as part of Poland’s offerings, but this seminar set out the breadth of offerings and in particular the development of new golfing venues close to city centres and easily accessible by air. In particular the Gdansk Golf and Country Club gave a timely reminder that this was the venue for the Polish Open this year and had been voted by the golf media as one of the top fifty courses in Europe.

Peter Walton from IAGTO (International Association of Golf Tour Operators) has also been advising the PNTO London office. IAGTO lists golf tour operators world wide and can be accessed from as can three of the leading golf courses in Poland. More

Speakers at this seminar included representatives from CECTA the PNTO Pawel Lewinski from Golf Poland, Lucyna Bronk from Postolwo Golf Club and Alison Hope from Stat Medica UK. specialising in the Polish private health care sector.

The evening concluded with a traditional Polish Buffet enjoyed by all!

Prague’s - Nelahozeves Castle
The grand re-opening of Nelahozeves Castle, situated on the outskirts of Prague, this November is a reminder of the amazing history of this unique Castle and family home for many generations. The Castle has undergone three months of extensive major renovations and is now open to the public again.

The new private exhibition entitled “Private Spaces: A Noble family at home “reflects an intimate view of how the Lobkowicz family pursued their particular interests in the 19th Century. The Castle was the birthplace of Anton Dvorak and the Lobkowiecz family dating back to the 14th Century were patrons of artists such as Beethoven, Mozart and Haydn the father of classical music.More details

Mondial have reminded us of a campaign from Oct. 1 – Nov. 30 "Wine in the City" presents Vienna as the only capital city in the world with an appreciable wine-growing industry and aims at strengthening Vienna's image as a city for connoisseurs. Events include wine tasting, vineyard walks or wine & jazz brunches. A thousand bottles of "Junger Wiener" wine are the main prize in a competition, in which also 1,000 instant prizes are available. Mondial also have good group rates in November at the Vienna Intercontinental and tickets for Vienna’s unique and famous Christmas Carol concert with the Vienna Boy’s choir on Friday 7th December. More at click on from

Rail travel for UEFA 2008
Special rail offers for UEFA Euro 2008 and travel tips on how to reach the host cities by rail have just been announced. The special Euro 08 Austria + Switzerland passes are available from 1 March 2008 and can be purchased from 2 months prior to the travel date onwards. All other tickets can usually be purchased from 3 months prior to the travel date onwards. More information from

UK Austrian Golf Day
The tenth annual Franz Klammer Wooden Spoon Austrian Golf Day held at the West Hill Golf club in the beautiful Surrey country side was yet again a fantastic success. Hosted by The UK office of the Austrian National Tourist Office, Franz Klammer and Golf Austria, the UK travel trade and travel media turned out in large numbers to hear how Austrian Golf Tourism, with an abundance of world class golf courses and resorts, is attracting large numbers of British visitors. Oskar Hinterreger from the ANTO reminded guests that Austria received over 800,000 tourists from the UK in 2006.and the numbers are growing. Austria has fantastic golfing venues with Golf courses that blend into forests, sit alongside lakes and all with stunning Alpine panoramas as a back drop. Pure magic!

Partners for the day included Salzburgerland, Tirol, Golf Alpine, Golf & Thermenresort and Schwarzler Hotels. More info

The southern Hungarian town of Szeged is planning to build Europe's longest waterslide as the unique selling point in the gigantic spa development, replacing the existing swimming pool and open-air baths.

The local government and Hunguest Hotels teamed up for the HUF 6 billion investment. Plans include a day hospital with 26 beds, parking lot, two restaurants, wellness section, therapeutic services and indoor amusement pool. The total combined surface area of the pools will be 5000 sqm. Hunguest is also developing and expanding the Forrás Hotel, located next to the spa.

The town of Bojnice in Slovakia boasts an amazing history and a wonderful castle along with a spa and zoo. Little known outside of Slovakia but with a wide range of accommodation set in wonderful countryside the City of Bojnice has conjured up a wonderful web site which is well worth a visit.


News letter July 2007

Madi Travel Market Prague
6 – 8 November 2007
The MADI Agency is offering a traditional Hosted Buyers Programme for tour operators and travel agency operators involved in tourism in the Czech Republic and Central Europe. The hosted programme for foreign buyers will be held for the 6th time this year at the MADI Business to Business Travel Workshop in Prague. To qualify for the hosted buyers program, delegates must participate at least in the seminar and the incoming workshop.

Hosted buyers are welcome to participate in any event at the MADI Travel Market (optional workshops, etc.) free of charge, join the sightseeing tour of Prague, plus one/two day excursions to the regions of the Czech Republic and tickets to the Theatre and Concerts and the Gala evening. For further details or email

Franz Joseph Haydn -
2009 will be the 200th anniversary of the death of Franz Joseph Haydn and plans are afoot across countries in Central Europe to ensure that the world remembers and celebrates the Father of the Symphony and the crucial role Haydn played in composing for the string quartet Sonata and Concerto.

Although born in Austria, and commemorated at the Eisenstadt Museum in Burgenland, Haydn spent much of his life in Hungary at the Esterhaza Palace in Ferlod (The Hungarian Versailles). Prince Esterhazy, a patron of the musical arts, ensured Haydn was fully employed and took him under his wing. The restored Rocco Palace has regular concerts in the summer months and this year alone five Haydn concerts will be performed. Haydn’s principal works were 104 symphonies 84 string quartets, 125 Chamber works and Oratories. Most notable “The Creation “and “The Seasons.

As details of events unfold we will keep our readers updated as there will be musical celebrations across the region, particularly in Hungary and Austria. Other Central European countries are also expected to take part in commemorating the role Haydn played as the corner stone of the classical period of music which flourished in Central Europe.

Viennese Nights
From June until September Vienna comes alive at night in the City Hall Square where every evening is transformed into a hot spot for classical music fans and late night revelers with great food and free film screenings. Giant screens with the illuminated City Hall as a backdrop show classical hits from operetta, dance and concert performances.

The popularity of this film festival is such that in 2006 560,000 people enjoyed the summer evenings with music on the silver screens and with the added attraction of culinary delights. More

Slovak Royal Towns
Bordejov, Kezmarok, Levoca and Star Lubouna are the four Slovak Royal towns that have joined to gether to ensure that visitors fully understand and can enjoy the amazing historical wealth these towns have to offer. Architecture that spans Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque and Neo Classical design. Castles and Churches that display a unique heritage from medieval times. All set in the beautiful country side of Slovakia, with Spas and the Tatra mountains close to hand.

KPMG Golf Business Forum
Delegates of the Golf Business Forum were unanimous in their verdict that the 2007 event held at the Hilton Budapest Hotel in Hungary was the best yet.

Have a look at this year’s GBF video and pictures and see how CECTA played a major role.
GBF 2007 video
GBF 2007 photo album

The two-day event brought together over 260 major stakeholders in the business of golf, including developers, investors, master planners, designers, tourism officials, golf course managers, suppliers and operators from over 40 countries. Or click on the link on the home page of

Budapest airport
A new rail service has been opened between Budapest Ferhegy airport and the city centre. By train the city can be reached in thirty minutes.

Polish National Tourist Office
The PNTO have a new president Mr. Wladyslaw Majka who is based in Warsaw. On a recent visit to London Mr. Maika met with CECTA and discussed how the two organizations can benefit from an even closer working relationship to grow tourism to Poland.

Hungarian National Tourist Office
The Hungarian tourist office in London has a new Director Adam Ligeti and a new trade relations manager Mark Kincses.

Embassy of the Republic of Slovakia
Slovakia also has a new Commercial Councilor Dusan Novotny. We wish them all good luck in their new endeavors.

We welcome to CECTA membership this month Detone sre a Bratislava based destination Management Company. Detone specialize in F.I.T. and group tourism in Slovakia and Bratislava. They offer a wide range of tourism products for their clients including Thematic Packages focused on Slovak history and culture. For full details of all their products click on


News letter June 2007

KPMG Golf business forum Budapest May 2007
Another very successful Golf Business Forum took place in Budapest in May with cecta’s Gill Wilson again the moderator. 270 delegates from 42 countries attended this year’s conference. There is no doubt that the golfing boom in Central Europe is now in full swing with 134 courses across Central and Eastern Europe not including Germany and the 147 in Austria. In Hungary alone there are now seven courses with twelve more under construction and the latest development, announced at this conference, on the outskirts of Budapest, has a completion date of 2009. The KPMG golf business team in Budapest who masterminded this fourth Golf Business forum are forecasting phenomenal growth in Eastern and Central Europe. With the world’s golf course developers flooding into Central Europe golf tourism is now a reality and no longer a dream.

Slovakia Pure and Beautiful
The Slovak Tourism event which cecta helped to mastermind was held in the Slovak London Embassy in May. This was the most successful to date and endorsed the decision to focus this business to business event on the unique Health and Beauty aspect of the 23 Slovak spas. Delegates attending were from the UK and Slovak Travel trade along with the travel media. Presentations from the Slovak tourist office, a customer case study, the importance of internet selling and reminiscences from the media and recent travelers showed the uniqueness of the Slovak spas as an extremely cost effective destination for both Health, Wellness and Beauty. A presentation from Mintel’s Richard Cope, the international market research company, highlighted the positive change in attitude to health tourism in the UK and said the USP of Slovakia was its authenticity – this was the real thing! A recently published Mintel survey showed that in 2006 the British spent 135 million GBP’s on these types of holidays and sales are set to increase by as much as 150% by 2011. This is extremely encouraging for all the countries of Central Europe who have struggled to grow their share of this market. Slovak food and wine made the day extremely enjoyable and the workshop and networking helped greatly in bringing tourism business to Slovakia.

Mintel’s Health and Wellness report which includes real life consumer video footage is available from Mintel. Contact

Football in Poland - UEFA Euro 2012
Many congratulations to Poland who along with the Ukraine will host the 2012 UEFA Euro 2012 event following Germany and Austria who host the event in 2008. Matches will be played across the country in Warsaw, Chorzow, Wroclaw, Poznam, Gdansk and Krakow. There is no question that the run up to this amazing international football extravaganza will be a great boost to Polish tourism and cities that have been in the promotional shadow of cities like Krakow and Gdansk will see the spot light turn on them for the first time and benefit from the upsurge in tourism that the footballing world will bring to the country.

Poland - Active City Breaks
This will be the theme for an event at the Polish Embassy in London on the evening of the 11th September 2007 with Golf tourism and Spas as the main attraction. The evening will be the culmination of a year long programme geared to the Travel Trade in the UK and Ireland highlighting the uniqueness of the Polish Spas and the emergence of a strong offerring in Golf tourism. More details will follow but make a note in your diary and invitations will follow. The Polish tourist office is also organising study tours as part of the programme for the media and the travel trade. The first one of these study tours visits Gdansk 22nd - 25th June , taking in two of the very impressive local golf courses and local Spas. There are still vacancies for this fully hosted trip and another later in the summer. Contact Ewa Binkin London Office Polish Tourist office.

German Ice and French TGV
The German and French rail companies have announced major new fast speed rail connections starting in June between Frankfurt /Main and Stuttgart to Paris and starting in December, connections between Paris to Munich. These new high speed trains will take two hours off the current traveling times bringing the journey time down to an amazing four hours. More details

The UK office of Deutsche Bahn have changed their telephone number to 08718 80 66

Czech Republic
Whilst Prague has been very successful in attracting visitors year round and the numbers never cease to grow the Czech Republic has more to offer. Just two regions alone highlight the wonderful country just waiting to be visited. Bohemian paradise with its Castles and Chateaux, picturesque villages and a paradise for walkers, cyclists and climbers alike. Filled with Pine forests and many protected areas Bohemian Paradise is wrapped in a Romantic atmosphere. South Moravia with its vineyards and orchards Castle and Chateaux is another part of the Czech Republic with a welcome for visitors. And not to be missed the Moravian Wine trail. The Czech Republic is also a wonderful golfing destination and to grow this market the Czech Tourist office is airing for the first time a new TV commercial on the UK Golf Channel.

Austria- Vienna for the family
The whole year round hotels in Vienna offer special rates on family rooms, and children traveling on public transport in Vienna travel free of charge on Sundays and public holidays as well as during Vienna’s school holiday time. A great incentive for family holidays in one of the world's greatest cities for visitors. Vienna also has special tours for Children and attractions that are perfect for family holidays. The zoo is the oldest in the world, the zoom children’s museum is unique and includes a multi-media lab. and In the Schonbrunn Palace Children have the chance to try on the historical costumes. As the Vienna tourist office says Vienna has a big heart for the little ones. for more details.


News Letter March 2007

Slovakia Pure and Beautiful – 22 May 10am – 2 pm
The Slovak Embassy, London
Tourism has taken centre stage in Slovakia over recent years and is no longer just a city break destination. Health and Beauty are top of the agenda this year and Slovakia Pure and Beautiful will offer the opportunity to learn more about what is on offer at attractive prices. Aimed at the travel trade and media this event will demonstrate to the British Travel Industry that there are rewards from recommending Slovakia to their clients. It has set out to give delegates a better understanding of what is on offer across this unique destination neatly tucked away between Austria, The Czech Republic and Hungary. As well as presentations, interactive networking with the opportunity for meeting new business partners will be the order of the day with Gill Wilson from cecta as mediator. A buffet lunch and a wine and cheese tasting is also part of the morning’s offering.

If you would like to attend please email Svetlana as soon as possible.

New Member
cecta welcomes to its membership Classical Hotels with a wide choice of Luxury hotels across Europe. The Sheraton Sofia Balkan Hotel and Casino, situated in the centre of the capital of Bulgaria, is one of the city’s grandest hotels with 188 rooms 17 suites and perfect for both the tourist and the business traveller.

Details of all Classical Hotels can be found on or the link on and

KPMG Golf Business Forum Budapest 16 – 17 May 2007
Registration is now open for this year’s Golf Business Forum to be held at the Hilton Hotel in Budapest in May.

Who should attend? Real estate and resort developers, investors, owners and operators of golf venues, architects, banks and equity funds, tourism authorities and tour operators. If you are involved in Golf this is the conference not to be missed. cecta has been an integral part of this conference for the past three years and has been playing both an active and we hope a significant role in developing golf tourism in Central Europe. cecta’s Gill Wilson will be the moderator again this year.

Hungarian Wine Tasting.
The Hungarian wine tasting at the Royal Opera House in London this month was another unique occasion to experience how far the Hungarian wine industry has developed over recent years. They have, of course, being making wine in Hungary for over a 1000 years so not surprisingly they can and do compete with the best in the world. On show again this year was examples of wine from the very best of the traditional grapes but also wine from native grape varieties such as Tokaji Aszu, Furmint and Ezerjo, vines unique to Hungary, for which they are justly proud. It is always worth remembering that good food wine and sunshine go together but when all these come together under a Hungarian umbrella the combination is extra special indeed. Food and wine are still at the heart of Hungarian culture.

There are some excellent internet sites to seek out Hungarian wine and as it says on the wonderful Weninger Winery site "This is where time takes its time" are all worth a visit if only to have a better view of Hungary and have a sight of where the grapes grow in the sunshine.

More details at

School and Youth Trips
Deutsche Bahn UK booking centre have announced that they can now arrange School and Youth Group Trips and feature a great number of destinations across Europe and not exclusively in Germany. Vienna, Prague and Budapest, for example, are included in their itineraries.

More details or 0844 477 2003

Wroclaw Golf Conference 19 – 21 April
Time is running out to sign up for this event, but with the outstanding line up of speakers this conference, focussing on Central and Eastern Europe, has a great deal to offer those involved in the rapidly growing golf industry in this part of the world. Cecta will be presenting a case justifying more investment in golf tourism with the argument that, although a niche market now, golf tourism will grow into a major part of the region’s tourism product and will further the rural tourism goals all the countries National Tourist Offices have set as future targets. Austria in particular, with 44 golf courses, has successfully grown its golf market by well targeted marketing campaigns which have resulted in a dramatic increase in tourist revenues over recent years. Spring has arrived and all the golf courses of Central Europe are now looking forward to an exciting season with more men and women taking up the game and visitors galore. See you in Wroclaw?


News Letter February 2007

Discount Rail Travel in Central Europe
Rail travel across Europe is both fast and convenient and there are amazing rail discount fare offers available in 2007 across all the Countries of Central Europe. In Germany there is the Sparnight offer of £21 travelling by night one way to any destination in Germany and including many cross border routes. For example Munich, Cologne, Hamburg and Budapest or Berlin, Cologne, Vienna and Gdansk.

The Berlin Warsaw Express also runs three times daily with travel time less than six hours. There are two classes of travel and reservations are necessary. The bonus is that on this train Polish cuisine is a speciality. An unlimited 3 day travel pass is also available for travel in Poland priced at just £43. Passengers can also travel by rail across Poland on a discounted inter rail pass in a zone that includes the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary. Rail bargains galore where borders are not a barrier to travel.


KPMG Golf Business Forum - Budapest - 16/18 May 2007
The theme for the third Golf Business Forum will be “Golf Development in the Emerging Markets”. A golf think tank, a session on securing finance, (debt equity, and best practice) a focus on Hungary, and golf and real estate are just a few of the subjects that will be presented and discussed at this unique leading global golf business forum. Gill Wilson cecta CEO will once again be the moderator.


Malev Airlines, Hungary’s national airline and soon to be privatised, will join the One World Alliance, which is led by British Airways and American Airlines, from 1 April 2007. The Malev membership of One World adds a further ten cities to the alliance and offers Malev passengers an enhanced set of services which includes interline e–ticketing with all the other member airlines of One World. This is a giant step forward for the carrier which has a long history of outstanding service and quality.


Wroclaw - Poland
The city of Wroclaw will play host to a golf conference for the first time in April 2007 and cecta will be there to make a presentation on Golf and Destination Marketing in Central Europe.

Wroclaw might seem an unlikely venue for such a conference, but Poland is making great strides in building golfing venues and in the development of golf tourism. Wroclaw, to the surprise of many, is also establishing itself on the tourist map of the world and this golf conference will further enhance that position. A city that was once under Bohemian rule, the Luxemburg Dynasty and Prussian rule. The city of Wroclaw, in a country that only had its first free elections in 1989 after communist rule, is blossoming as a city of culture as well as business. Wroclaw has amazing history and architecture (Wroclaw town hall is considered one of the most splendid Gothic buildings in Europe) and boasts one of Poland’s leading universities. Certainly worth a visit and deserves to be on many tour operators’ itineraries.


The Slovak Embassy in London hosted the first monthly meeting of the British Slovak Council’s Investors Club this month with Risk Management as the subject of the evening. Guest speakers came from both the UK and from Slovakia. With the Slovakia economy growing at a fast rate and GDP in 2006 well ahead of its neighbours at 8% and inflation at 2.7% Slovakia is attractive to property investors, particularly in the tourism sector.

More details about future events are available from


Prague –Vienna Greenways Trail
A 250 mile network of hiking and biking between the historic towns and villages of Prague and Vienna is the promise from the Czech and Vienna Greenways Association. This unique cultural trail, planned with the environment uppermost, takes in the Vitava river valley, Southern Bohemia, the Dyjel River valley and Southern Moravia. The laudable goal of the Greenways Association is to preserve and restore the natural and cultural heritage of the region and develop sustainable tourism for this wonderful part of the world.


Congratulations to Sky Europe
SkyEurope Airlines, who claim to be the largest low-cost airline in Central and Eastern Europe, reached another first when the 7th brand new Boeing 737-700 New Generation landed at Bratislava airport on Saturday 27th January 2007 at 6.53 p.m. Under the control of captain Peter Pelec the new addition into SkyEurope’s fleet, flew from Seattle to Prague in just 10 hours and 10 minutes a record-breaking flight of 8,382 miles without any fuel stop. It is the longest documented flight of a Boeing 737-700NG in the commercial configuration.


News Letter January 2007

KPMG Golf Business Forum Budapest 2007
The 4th annual KPMG Golf Business Forum will return to Budapest in 2007 and take place at the Budapest Hilton. The dates to Diary are May 16-18.

GBF is without doubt the most successful Golf conference to be staged in Central Europe and will now return to Budapest in 2007. The last conference took place Cyprus in 2006 when over 30 countries were represented. CECTA news will keep you updated on the agenda and the speakers as this information becomes available. Further details can be found on

Time for INSPIRED CHANGE in the Car Rental Industry
cecta member Avis Car Hire sent us the following:

“Here at Avis we understand how stressful and tiring travel can be these days.

So we started thinking, how we could make your whole experience with us as quick, easy and hassle-free as possible.

We asked our staff what they thought we could do to make this happen - and we were inspired by the ideas that came back to us.

From letting you drop your car off with us in just 60 seconds to giving you clearer, jargon-free rental agreements, we are now introducing a whole new range of services to help speed up your journey and make it less stressful.”

See more on: The Avis Website

ILTM reports on emerging markets
and future luxury trends
Emerging markets and the future of luxury travel were the hot topics of debate at the fifth International Luxury Travel Market (ILTM), which took place in Cannes in December 2006. The show welcomed over 3,000 visitors through its doors between 4 - 7 December, reinforcing its position as the premier travel trade show targeting the luxury sector.

ILTM focused on the newcomers to luxury and of the 1,244 exhibiting companies from over 80 countries, over 100 were brand new to the show. A carefully selected group of high-end buyers attended the show from 64 countries worldwide, which resulted in over 42,000 appointments taking place over the three days.

The Czech Republic was well represented with exhibitors from the regions and venues. William Lobkowicz was present and had plenty of interest for both Lobkowicz Castle and Lobkowicz Palace which is tucked inside the Prague Palace complex The news that the Lobkowicz collections including the Caneletto will be part of a permanent exhibition in the Palace from Spring 2007 created a great deal of interest. William likes to point out that this will include in addition to paintings from the old masters, the finest collection of arms and armour in Central Europe if not in the world.

The Plzen region was also exhibiting with reminders of how this region, bordering on Bavaria, whilst well known since 1842 for its Beer, the famous Pilsner Urquell brewed in Plzen, boasts extraordinary scenery, well preserved medieval towns, old castles and Chateaux, and is a great region for tourism. There is a wealth of outdoor pursuits including Golf, Winter Sports in the Sumava Mountains, Fishing and Horse Riding. The city of Pilzen was founded in 1295 by King Wenceslaus. History abounds in the Czech republic.

Golf Business Conference Poland 2007
Another date for the diary. The golf business Conference will take place on 19th -21st April in Wroclaw in Poland. The conference is focused on Golf development in Eastern European Countries and is recommended for investors owners and managers of golf courses in developing countries. cecta will address the conference on the potential for Golf tourism. All the information can be found and registration can be made on

Golf in Austria
A visit to the Austrian National Tourist Office website will turn up the extraordinary story of the World Snow Golf Championships in Salzburg this February. The site though, does also give a wealth of information on the way golf tourism has grown in the summer months in Austria. With 44 golf courses, a well focussed and co-ordinated marketing programme, that includes the Alpin discount card, and a strong third party group of tour operators, who are all listed on the Austria has firmly established its credentials as a four star golfing destination.

Hungary Travel Supplement
Travel and Tourism News Middle East the leading travel trade magazine in the Middle East, which is distributed to the travel Trade throughout the Middle East and based in Bahrain, is publishing a Hungarian supplement in April. Full details and enquiries are available from Kimberly Thomson publishing director.

Winter Music Festivals
From Berlin to Prague, Vienna to Budapest and Bratislava and Warsaw, classical winter musical programmes are even better than ever this year and the Spring Festivals that follow have on offer a classical musical extravaganza that stretches across the Towns and Capital cities of all the countries of Central Europe.

Berlin for example has three opera houses and two concert halls, eight symphony orchestras and the world’s leading directors and conductors. This winter the visitor can enjoy Mozart’s Magic Flute and experience Wagner’s Ring plus a wide range of fantastic musical offerings not least from the Berlin Philharmonic and its musical director Sir Simon Rattle. More detail on

The Prague winter festival has more to offer with the Czech Philharmonic alone offering, Dvorak, Janacek Mozart and Bach. And this is just a sample of what is on offer during the Winter and the May Spring festival this year. More

The Budapest Spring festival features Mozart’s Figaro. , Cosi Fan Tutte, Don Giovanni Straus and Wagner and Hungarian dance

Vienna of course, renowned the world over for it Musical heritage, is a music festival in its own right year round, and will deliver a wonderful programme of opera and music for the most discerning taste. Details and links to all the programmes in Vienna and the Salzburg festival can be found on

Danubius Hotels
News from Danubius Hotels is that there are special offers available across all their Hotels Spa and Wellness resorts this winter, in Hungary, Czech Republic Slovakia and their Spa resort in Romania. All the resorts can cater for business conferences. Another reminder is that Thermia Palace the five star property in Piestany is now open for business.

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