In Business News this week: government to spend seven billion crowns on boosting Czechs’ digital literacy; Fortuna’s net profit drops by 47 percent; Czech fruit and vegetable growers lose 480 million crowns due to Russian sanctions; Prague hotels enjoy record season; honey production confounds expectations.
The Czech government plans to spend seven billion crowns by 2020 on boosting Czechs’ digital literacy. It is the first step of the government’s action plan for the development of the digital market which was approved this week. The action plan is a response to the Digital Single Market strategy produced by the European Commission in May this year. The plan comprises the main measures aimed at fostering the development of the Czech digital economy. These include creating a favourable environment for technology start-ups, analysing the impact of digitization on jobs, and actively shaping digital agenda legislation at the EU level.
Net profit of Czech betting company Fortuna dropped by 47 percent in the first half of 2015 to 4.8 million euros (around 130 million crowns), the company announced this week. The total amount of bets placed increased by 23.6 percent to 412 million euros. Fortuna said the results were affected by changes to on-line betting rules in Slovakia, less favourable sports results, and higher marketing expenses.
Czech fruit and vegetable growers this year suffered losses of around 480 million crowns due to Russia’s ban on EU foods in retaliation for Western sanctions. The European Union will provide the growers with around 14 million crowns in partial compensation. The ministry will pay out the funds to any farmer whose production of fruit and vegetables exceeds 3,000 tonnes. The area of orchards under cultivation has decreased by 11 percent to around 15,500 hectares, which is the biggest drop in the past 20 years.
Prague hotels have seen a record season this year. The average price for a night in a hotel has increased by 11 percent to 79 euros, according to a survey by the STR Global company. It is the best figure Prague hotels have achieved since 2008. Room occupancy this season increased by four percentage points compared with 2014, reaching over 70 percent. In comparison with Western Europe, however, prices in Prague are still significantly lower. According to the latest figures, some three million tourists have visited the Czech capital this year so far, compared with last year’s 2.7 million.
The Czech Republic’s production of honey is expected to be above-average, the secretary of the Czech Beekeepers’ Union Milan Petrů said this week. Contrary to expectations, honey production has not been affected by the Varroosis disease, which has wiped out about one third of the country’s bee population. The number of bee-keepers in the country has continued to grow. The beekeepers’ union currently registers some 53,000 members, 1,500 more than last year. According to the latest figures there are currently around 600,000 bee colonies in the Czech Republic.
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