While in past years the surge of Russian tourists visiting the Czech Republic seemed to outpace all competition, this year has seen a 40% downfall in their numbers. However, the country’s rising popularity among Chinese and Korean visitors has managed to prevent losses for the tourist industry although it’s not clear whether they will be able to compensate for the strong Russian tourist base over the long term.
In Business News this Friday: Industry & Trade Minister warns up to 1,000 could be lost due to EU sanctions; Ahold gets ready to transform former Interspar supermarkets; Vítkovice Steel will shut down Ostrava plant; Travel Service will no longer offer charter flights to Bangkok; Czechs take healthy interest in their finances.
Although the idea was rejected by new Slovák President Andrej Kiska on his visit to Prague in June, the export banks of both countries have not given up plans to revive the Made in Czechoslovakia designation. The deciding factor is the former Czechoslovakia’s good reputation, but not all agree bringing back the name is a good thing, for obvious reasons: the Czech Republic and Slovakia have been separate countries since 1993.
While Czechs are among Europe’s most prodigious consumers of beer, the percentage sold in the country’s pubs has fallen to a historic low. This has led breweries to push their own branded restaurants, linking the pub experience to sport and quality dining and introducing other innovations, the newspaper Hospodářské noviny reported on Wednesday.
Prague’s Václav Havel International Airport will undergo a makeover of one of its key areas and terminals to be able to accommodate giant Airbus A380s. In the past the plane has landed three times at the airport but regular flights, to begin from Seoul next summer, would stretch the airport beyond its capacity and would threaten delays. The airport plans to see renovation at the cost of 154 million crowns to be complete ahead of next summer.
Stepping up refinery activity after just taking a massive hit from the struggling sector might at first glance seem a puzzling strategy. But the Polish overlords of most of the Czech refinery and petro-chemical sector believe they can turnaround the business as they prepare to take over full management control. But they say a little help from the Czech government would not go amiss.
The Chinese state-owned enterprise China Railway Signal & Communication Corporation has signed a deal to buy a majority stake in the Inekon Group from its founder Josef Hušek. Inekon, a Czech tram producer, will thus receive a marked financial boost and a strong foothold in the Chinese market. In addition to trams, it will provide know-how at a new production facility just built.