Chinese tourists are spending big money on their foreign travels and countries with tourist industries are vying to attract their attention. The Czech Republic, which recently “reset “relations with China, is among the contenders, with plans to introduce a direct air connection between Prague and Beijing and cultural exchanges focused on highlighting the many tourist attractions of the Czech capital.
Last year Chinese tourists spent a whopping 165 billion dollars on their holiday trips abroad – a sum that has countries with tourist industries scrambling to attract their attention and simplifying visa procedures in order to get an edge over their rivals. In November of last year the US and China signed an agreement on significantly extending the terms of short-term visas, Malaysia and Indonesia want to scrap tourist visas for Chinese nationals altogether, Thailand has said it would scrap visa fees for them and Australia is establishing direct air-connections to three Chinese cities.
The Czech Republic is also working to ease the way for Chinese tourism and highlight the country’s tourist attractions – with Prague presented as a must-see destination on a tour of Europe. Recent visits to China by Czech officials produced not only a series of bilateral agreements opening the way for greater investment and business cooperation but also plans for a more intense cultural exchange.
Czech public television has launched an exchange program with China Central Television where it is sending a vast number of travel documentaries highlighting places of interest around the country. Moreover the first ever Chinese movie filmed in the Czech Republic recently premiered in Beijing. The romance filmed at some of Prague’s most beautiful locations is expected to attract more tourists to the Czech capital.
Chinese tourists spend on average 17,000 crowns on a visit to the Czech Republic, which makes up 14 percent of overall spending by non-EU visitors. In 2013 the Czech Republic hosted 174,000 tourists from China, and according to as yet preliminary figures the number of Chinese visitors increased by 11 percent last year. Estimates suggest that this year their number could reach 210,000.
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