The 2017 FINA World Championships and the FINA World Masters Championships will help the further development of the Balaton region – says Miklós Oláh, chief researcher of the Lake Balaton Development Council. Oláh has been living in the region for more than two decades, and regards researching the Lake Balaton and its surroundings as a mission in his life. The biggest sport event in Hungary’s history can give this process a boost.
Miklós Oláh cannot deny that he has fallen in love with Lake Balaton. The chief researcher of the Balaton Development Council has been working on projects that support the development of the region for more than 20 years, so he was very happy to learn that Budapest and Balatonfüred are hosting the 17th FINA World Championships and the 17th FINA World Masters Championships during the summer if 2017.
‘Balatonfüred is a good choice, since it is an optimal venue for this event, and open water swimming has great traditions since 1820, the year of the famous Bay Swim of Baron Miklós Wesselényi’ – said Miklós Oláh.
‘There have been great developments in this region in recent years, such as the project called ‘The jewels of the bank of Lake Balaton I-II’. It has been an optimalised development, so it is about choosing an optimal location, optimal goals, functions as well as environmental and traffic conditions. All in all, I can say that Balatonfüred is the right choice for the open water events of the FINA World Championships.’
The city of Balatonfüred and its surroundings are very popular in July and August, the region offers many different events for tourists, but a major international event such as the FINA World Championships can create further ways of development. Miklós Oláh is convinced that the World Championships will serve as an outstanding promotional opportunity because the locals bring the attraction of the other seasons to the visitors’ attention, so many of them might return during the autumn, winter or spring to the ‘Hungarian Sea’.
‘There is no doubt that Balatonfüred and the surrounding cities will be full in that period, but the outer villages can also benefit from the Event. Especially, if they offer interesting, additional programmes for those who want to look around in the neighbourhood.’
Until the 90’s, 80 percent of the visitors at the Lake Balaton came from outside the borders - only 20 percent were Hungarian - this rate nowadays is the other way around. The FINA World Championships, however, can create a very special situation, since competitors, attendants and fans from many distant countries will also take part in the Event. These American, Australian, New Zealander, Brazilian or South African visitors will have the chance to discover the Balaton region, so they and many of their compatriots might return the years after to this breathtaking and unique location.
The Organisers of the 17th FINA World Championships were present at the 2016 European Aquatics Championships in London, at the Rio Olympics and at the 2016 FINA World Short Course Swimming Championships, already creating interest and drawing attention to the FINA World Championships to be held in Budapest and Balatonfüred this summer.
One thing is for sure: the FINA World Championships will be larger and more unique in every aspect from previous events at the Lake Balaton, so it will be something really special for the experts of the region and for all competing, watching or taking part in any way.
The open water swimming events of the 17th FINA World Masters Championships will be held between August 10-12. General spectator admission will be free of charge.