Local governments and volunteers in the Lake Balaton Resort Area during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic

Károly Fekete -Gábor Dombi - Miklós Oláh

Abstract

DOI

The Lake Balaton Resort Area, as a functional region that is primarily defined by tourism, faced extremely complex challenges during the first wave of COVID-19 pandemic (spring 2020). At the local level, however, issues of administration and pandemic management were more in the foreground than those of the health system. To investigate these issues, we conducted a survey with the mayors of the region, including examining the role of volunteers in local governments' pandemic management programs.

The results of the survey indicate that in this region, which has been characterised by a high level of local citizenship and volunteering in recent decades, the volunteers have also contributed to effective regional management of the pandemic. The engagement of volunteers and civil organisations was particularly strong in the settlements on the shoreline and the Balaton Uplands, where tourism plays a decisive role. In addition, it can be assumed that the non-profit scene has contributed to the moderate lapse of the first wave of pandemic in the entire region. The cooperation between local governments and civil organisations has also clearly shown that they are able to efficiently cope with local challenges even in a crisis.

Keywords: local governement, volunteers, civil society, COVID-19 pandemic, Lake Balaton Resort Area,