Istvan Ujhelyi graduated from the Faculty of Law and Political Sciences of the University of Szeged (Hungary) in 2002.
In 1993 he joined the Hungarian Socialist Party (MSZP), where he has held many leading positions. He was state secretary in the Ministry of Local Government and Regional Development (2006-2009) and state secretary in the Prime Minister’s Office (2009-2010). He was elected MP in the Hungarian National Assembly from 2002 and was deputy speaker between 2010 and 2014. He was chair of the National Tourism Committee from 2006 to 2010.
After the European Parliament elections in 2014, he became chair of the Tourism Task Force in the Committee on Transport and Tourism, where he served as vice-chair. In 2019 he was re-elected as an MEP, and as vice-chair of the committee. In recent years he has initiated tourism-related programmes such as EU-China Tourism Year 2018 and the European Capital of Tourism project, also known as European Capital of Smart Tourism.
Mr Ujhelyi is the founder and president of the Europe-China OBOR Culture & Tourism Development Committee and political mentor of the free Interrail programme DiscoverEU.
In 2018 he was appointed special ambassador of the UN World Tourism Organisation.
He is the founder and president of the Confucius Institute in Szeged, established by the University of Szeged and Shanghai International Studies University, and is a member of the governing body of the Mediterranean Tourism Board in Malta. He is the father of four daughters and two sons.