From the start of this week two advertisements for Prague have been appearing several times a day on the international TV station CNN, drawing attention to the Czech capital's many charms. The campaign is sponsored by Czech Airlines and is set to run until October; it's Prague's first campaign of this type. At the ads' launch, I spoke to the city's mayor, Pavel Bem, and asked him what kind of tourists he wants to attract to Prague.
"Intelligent, wealthy, tourists who really want to spend money in the city of Prague, and at the same time are ready to respect the cultural history and heritage of the city and the uniqueness of the city. That means those who want to eat and drink, but also see and hear something."
How important is it for Prague to be on a big international station like CNN, to have such a high number of ads on CNN?
"I think it is important, because if you look at the statistics and dynamism of tourism in Prague then you see that Prague is becoming - especially in the last two or three years - extremely attractive and popular, especially in Europe but also overseas. And I think we have to and we wish to keep the dynamism going on, and there is no question about the benefits of tourism for the city of Prague and also for all the Czech Republic.
"So I guess that CNN is addressing messages to an extremely huge...population, and definitely one which is ready to travel and I think it is a good way, really, to maximize the effect of campaigning."
When you prepare a campaign like this how much do you coordinate it and consult it with other Czech bodies? I mean for example Czech Tourism, or other bodies.
"We do, we certainly do. We definitely consult such an event with experts and specialists in tourism, especially entrepreneurs. On the other side, also some other Czech state organisations."
Prague has been "open" so to speak for over 15 years, millions upon millions - especially Europeans - have already been here. Have you got any particular strategy to make them come back again?
"Sure, if you come for three or four days you are definitely astonished by the beauty of the city, and the sort of hidden magic. On the other hand you are coming back and you definitely are sure that you missed so many things to see or visit.
"If we ask tourists leaving the city of Prague if they wish or plan
once to come back, 99 percent of them say, yes. So I think this is quite
an optimistic...view to the future."
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