Prague’s answer to falling visitor numbers - teddy bear tourism


Now, ever gone on holiday and been forced to leave your teddy bear at home? Well, fear not, a Czech tour operator is launching what looks like a world first for tourism – holidays for cuddly toys. Starting from 90 euros you can send your teddy bear or other furry friend on a luxury trip to Prague or other Central European cities – you’ll even receive a photo album with his holiday snaps. Earlier we spoke to the man behind the idea, Tomio Okamura.

Photo: www.sendyourdarling.comPhoto: “There are about 1.2 billion toys in the world, and a lot of their owners like these toys very much, and they want to make them more happy. The owner of the toy will send his toy to one of four or five locations in Central Europe, and we will take photos of the toy in front of Prague Castle, Charles Bridge and the most famous sightseeing spots. Then we will put these photos on a CD, and send them and the toy back to the original country.”

OK Tomio. Is it a joke?

“It is not a joke. We are four owners. Me - the vice president of the Czech National Association of Travel Agencies, also Miss Dana Bérová – she is a former minister. So it’s proof that it’s a very serious business. We’ve already started with capital of around 400,000 crowns, so it is really a serious business.”

Just looking at the pricelist on the website – the basic package starts at 90 euros, but for 140 euros you send your cuddly toy for aromatherapy, and for 150 euros, massage – how does that work?

“Yes, we will make massage on the mat next to Charles Bridge, with Prague Castle in the background. So we will put teddy bear on the mat, put candles around him, and take photos. So then his owner can say that his owner had a massage in Prague.”

Photo: www.sendyourdarling.comPhoto: You can’t argue with that. You say you also cater for vegetarian toys as well.

“Yes. The client has to tell us if the teddy bear is vegetarian, or if the teddy bear drinks alcohol, because part of the package is also lunch, so we can serve the teddy bear food and drink which is suitable for him, and avoid the situation that the teddy bear’s owner will be angry with us that we served him alcoholic drinks, and so on.”