In recent years across the world there has been a resurgence of community currencies, primarily in response to the drain of capital from communities, the competitive disadvantage of local businesses and the depreciation of community assets. No fast and easy solution to these problems exists but community currency can play a useful role. And so the Tokaji Dukát will be spreading across the Tokaj wine region, a traditionally historically and economically cohesive region, from September 2015.
It is hoped it will strengthen the region’s tourism and international renown, as well as linking local producers, traders and service providers, thus retaining part of the capital generated locally in the area. Of course, simply establishing the system itself is not enough as it cannot be successful without the support and will of local councils, businesses and people. Local currency only works if the community wants and accepts it. But signs are good: several working examples exist in Hungary (e.g. Bocskai Korona, Soproni Kékfrankos) and elsewhere (e.g. Totnes pound).
The Tokaji Dukát will be available from September. One Tokaji Dukát will be exchangeable (at any time) for one Forint and users of the local currency will be able to make purchases in shops and businesses where it is accepted and to pay contractors as well as council services. Obviously businesses will be also able to buy from one other. In practice it will work in a similar way to the Forint, but it will always remain locally. Naturally the Dukát can be freely re-exchanged at any time for Forints.
It is hoped that many places will accept the Tokaji Dukát and offer discounts on the price of their products and services to its users. So, look out for stickers announcing participation in the scheme.
The idea of introducing a local currency here was included in the 2013 BOR-VIDEK Tokaj-Hegyalja National Programme and was later integrated into the business marketing section of the ÉMOP (North Hungary Operational Programme) -2.1.1-F14 Development of highlighted tourist attractions and services. The project is being coordinated by the Széchenyi Programme Office Nkft. and managed by Tibor Horváth who said, “This project could be capable of directing attention to the fact that communities are able to work for their own prosperity and, with cooperation and the will to do something, are able to improve their situation”.