In most respects 2016 was a good year for tourism not least in the Czech capital, which saw yet another increase in the number of visitors. But there were complications as well, among them heightened security introduced at Prague Castle mid-season which led to unexpected and unprecedented lines, at least for a time. Still, on the whole, Prague offers more and better possibilities than ever, something Radio Prague discussed with the head of Prague City Tourism, Nora Dolanská. We began by asking her first how she rated 2016 overall.
The number of tourists staying in Airbnb-style private accommodation in the Czech Republic grew by 40 percent year on year to 2.2 million in the first nine months of this year, suggests research conducted for CzechTourism. The state agency also said on Tuesday that the overall number of visitors had grown by 12.6 percent in the first three-quarters to reach 9.3 million. Hotels saw an upswing of 6.3 percent in overnight stays in the same period.
The Czech tourism sector has enjoyed a bumper season in the first nine months of the year with 14.6 million tourists staying in accommodation. That is the highest total since 2000 and 7.1 percent above the total during the same period in 2015. Many more Czechs visited sites at home with stays up by just over half a million at 7.4 million. The number of foreign visitors climbed by 419,000 to 7.1 million. Germans counted for 1.4 million of those visitors. There were strong rises as well in the number of visitors from China, Taiwan, and South Korea.
With the first snow having already fallen in the country, Czech mountain resorts are getting ready for the upcoming winter season. At a conference at the office of Czech Tourism on Tuesday representatives of the Czech Mountain Resorts Association unveiled their plans for this winter, which they hope will see more snow than in previous years. I spoke with the association’s spokesman Petr Souček and I first asked him how successful the summer season had been:
The Czech Confederation of Commerce and Tourism, the Czech Chamber of Commerce, and Atrium Czech Real Estate Management (managing the Flora shopping centre in Prague) held a joint-press conference on Monday warning that legislation passed this year – forcing large retailers to close their doors on seven state holidays – will lead to a net loss in revenues of around four billion crowns across the Czech Republic. Additionally, the grouping warned that the new law would lead to job losses, not just among cashiers or sellers but also cleaners and security. By contrast, the bill had support from the unions as it would allow employees in the service sector time off. October 28 is one of seven state holidays when large retail stores will not be allowed to sell products.
Some 54,000 Czechs are expected to travel to Dubai in 2017, which is an increase by about one fifth on the previous year, Dubai’s office for tourism said in a press release on Thursday. The Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing of Dubai opened an office in Prague this week. It is set to launch a campaign in the Czech Republic and other central and eastern European countries to promote Dubai as a tourist destination for families with children.