The potential of archaeological tourism in Vas County
The tourism indicators of Vas County in Hungary are good in national terms, although obviously they are lower than those of the capital, Budapest, and the more popular and attractive Lake Balaton. But the county's two large, nationally and internationally renowned spas Bük and Sárvár, as well as a few larger and many smaller attractions, offer visitors great opportunities for relaxation, immersion, and discovery.
In addition to wellness and health tourism, the region is mainly characterised by green and cultural tourism, for which the county has excellent potential. Cultural tourism has a solid base in the form of numerous excavated and buried historical monuments, which provide a glimpse into the past of an area that has been inhabited for a long time. There is a wealth of archaeological and architectural heritage dating back to Roman times and earlier. Furthermore, the built heritage, programme tourism also builds on historical elements and traditions - e.g. Savaria Historical Carnival, Siege days in Kőszeg, traditional programmes in the Őrség and the Vasi Hegyhát. This also shows that archaeological traditions are strong in the county and that the local population has a strong attachment to the ancient/medieval past.
It follows from this that there is a place for an archaeological tourism strategy in the tourism sub-strategies of the county, which encompasses and supports a large part of cultural tourism. An archaeological tourism strategy is important because there are only a few major sites that can attract visitors on their own - notably ISEUM and the castles of Kőszeg and Sárvár - but the potential in this segment is much greater if smaller attractions are interlinked.
Finally, archaeological tourism can offer a combination of quiet experiences of nature-based, active, value-based and cultural tourism that provide unique opportunities for potential visitors. Thematic tours, publications, experience packages and appropriate marketing work are needed to achieve this.