The Chinese company CEFC is free to purchase Prague’s high-end Mandarin Oriental hotel after the deal was approved by the Office for the Protection of Competition. The news was announced by a spokesperson for the anti-trust agency on Wednesday. The Chinese firm will buy the Malá Strana property through its company Karmelitská Hotel and says it aims to capitalise on the rapid rise in the number of tourists between the two countries. CEFC has already made substantial investments in the Czech Republic, buying Slavia Prague football club, the Lobkowicz brewery and a large chunk of air carrier Travel Service.
Long queues have been forming at Prague Castle recently after security was beefed up at the popular tourist site. Now it has been intensified further with the introduction of walk-through metal detectors. Officials say the measure protects visitors, though critics say less obtrusive approaches could be taken.
Beefed up security at Prague Castle is leading to long queues, as tourists are forced to wait to have their belongings checked by a ring of police, soldiers and Castle guards. The latest measures, which have just come into effect, are causing major disruptions at one of the Czech Republic’s top tourist sights.
Although the Czech Foreign Ministry on Friday toned down its travel warning for Turkey, the uncertain situation in the country has led many Czechs to change their travel plans. Czech travel agencies say security concerns have cut the sale of package holidays in Turkey by a half. Only around 80, 000 Czechs will be spending their holidays there this year, compared to 162 thousand in 2015. The price of package tours has dropped significantly as a result.
Karlovy Vary’s Hotel Thermal was recently, as it regularly is, the backdrop for Central Europe’s biggest film festival. The complex was designed, outside and in, specifically for the film festival in the West Bohemian spa town. But the controversial 1970s architectural work of the husband and wife team of Vladimír Machonin and Věra Machoninová is showing its age with its owner, the state, blowing hot and cold about its future. That has prompted the granddaughter and grandson of the architects to step in.
Czech travel agencies say they expect the attack in Nice will result in a further drop in the number of Czech tourists heading for France. According to the Association of Czech Travel Agencies the number of Czech tourists visiting France this summer will be at least 30 percent lower than it was in 2015 when close to 140,000 Czechs visited the country. At present the country’s biggest travel agency Čedok has no package tours in Nice. A package tour heading for France this weekend, which was to have visited Nice, has been offered an alternative route.
Segway operators in Prague are considering legal action if the city’s authorities go ahead with a planned ban on the two-wheeled electric vehicles. A spokesperson for the Segway Association of the Czech Republic, which comprises 25 operators, said it would sue the city for losses incurred. From mid-August Segways should be barred from city centre pavements, cycle paths and pedestrian zones, where they have become a familiar sight in recent years.
Part of the Dancing House, perhaps Prague’s most distinctive modern building, is to be turned into a hotel. The four-star Dancing House Hotel will accommodate its first guests in August, the operators said. It will offer 21 rooms, including suites in the towers of the Dancing House, which was designed in the mid-1990s by the world-renowned Frank Gehry and local architect Vlado Milunič.