Just a few weeks ago it looked like winter was on the run in the Czech Republic - now it is back with a vengeance. It happens that I'm visiting, the snow - covered town of Pelhrimov, a town I've been to before, but never like this. Tires spin hopelessly as an old Skoda car tries to pull onto the road; crowds stand huddled as they wait for a morning bus, and on the town's main square: boots crunch on the snow as locals cross in front of the famous rows of Baroque Burgher's Houses, like so many mysterious figures in something of a Breugal landscape.
Since the fall of communism in 1989 the Czech Republic has enjoyed an inflow of tourists from all over the world. Even so, it has taken the country a long time to develop a unified concept on promoting tourism. The Ministry for Regional Development is now trying to improve the situation. On Wednesday, the Ministry's Czech Tourist Authority helped nine Czech towns to introduce their brand new project luring tourists to visit fortified towns.
When you ask Czechs to describe the North Bohemian town of Most, the most common answer is a grey mining town that expelled its entire native German population after the Second World War and offers few things to do or see. But fact is that Most, with its population of over 68,000, is today a thriving place that offers several noteworthy sights and plenty to do.
Just about a month ago, Prague's streets were packed with tourists and locals, the public transport system was filled with passengers and shops and stores were almost overwhelmed by the large number of customers. Now, the Golden City has become a ghost town. Some may think it's a normal occurrence, the tourists have gone back home and Czechs have had more than their fair share of the holidays and are now ready to get back to their normal lives. But many, including myself, can't help but notice that the city is much quieter than usual at this time
Every summer, at the height of the holiday season, it is sometimes hard to hear Czech spoken on the streets of Prague. This is because the city is so full of visitors coming to look at the glories of the place that was once considered to be a "jewel in the Habsburg crown". Despite, the huge numbers coming to visit this country, however, a professional association has recently announced that the Czech Republic could be doing more to reap the benefits of tourism.
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