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Original scientific paper

The influence of Lake Balaton's tourist milieu on visitors' quality of life

Tamara Rátz orcid id ; Kodolanyi Janos University College, Department of Tourism, Szekesfehervar, Hungary
Gábor Michalkó ; Geographical Research Institute, Hungarian Academy of Science, Budapest, Hungary
Balázs Kovács ; Tourism Unit -Ministry of Local Goverment and Regional Development, Budapest, Hungary

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page 127-142

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The paper summarises Hungarian visitors' perceptions of the key components of Lake Balaton's tourist milieu and seeks to identify those components that influence the guests' quality of life. The study aims to analyse the relationship between the cultural landscape and the happiness of tourists, by investigating the contribution of the tourist milieu's various components to the development of tourists' positive attitudes and perceptions concerning their quality of life. In order to assess the notion and the perceived components of the tourist milieu of Lake Balaton, a survey was carried out with 800 respondents in Hungary in 2007. Based on the behaviourist approach of geography, respondents' perceptions are critically analysed in order to identify the specific components of the Lake's milieu, especially those connected with the quality of life. Although tourism started to develop in the region already in the 19th century, and the cultural landscape around the lake has been shaped by natural as well as social forces, the study findings indicate that the perceived destination milieu of Lake Balaton is determined by attributes related to summer and hedonistic consumption reinforcing the stereotypical position of the region as a short-season summer holiday destination. Those components of the perceived tourist that substantially contribute to visitors' overall sense of happiness are also seen as influential and memorable factors in the holiday experience. Consequently, the research results suggest that the creation of idyllic surroundings by conscious development measures may significantly contribute to an overall positive perception of the destination's milieu and may also have a major impact on visitors' experience and their willingness-to-return.


tourist milieu; happiness; quality of life; Lake Balaton; Hungary

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