There have been gloomy reports recently about the inability of the Czech tourism industry to attract visitors to Prague and elsewhere in the country for a second, third or any further visit. Despite this, and despite the fact that, as CNN's travel expert Richard Quest once put it, "getting a smile in Prague is a day's work", the city is busy with tourists all the same and the major sights of the city, like Charles Bridge and Mala Strana, are best to visit at four in the morning, in February.
On hearing cicadas, most Czechs recall Croatia. Last summer, around 1 000 000 Czechs travelled there to enjoy summer vacation. In other words, one tenth of all citizens of the Czech Republic including newborns and the elderly crossed the Croatian border during the high tourist season. I asked Goran, who has worked in tourism here on Rab Island in Croatia for 15 years, which nationality of tourists he considers the most numerous, in Goran's words the most "populated".
Last year was a record year for Czech tourism, with over 6.4 million tourists visiting the Czech Republic. So far this year, visitor figures have been down by ten percent on last, prompting speculation that tourism in the Czech Republic has reached its peak. But Tomio Okamura, spokesperson for the Association of Czech Travel Agencies, has a different view. He believes that the potential for tourism here has been left largely unrealised, and last week launched a blistering attack on those who, he said, were watching Czech visitor numbers fall and
The human resource consulting firm Mercer released the results of its annual World Cost of Living Survey this week. Covering 143 cities across six continents, it measures the cost of over 200 items in each location, including housing, transport, food, clothing, household goods and entertainment. The comprehensive study ranks Moscow as the most expensive city. Compared to last year, Bratislava jumped from 48th to 31st. To find out more about the survey and how Prague fared, I spoke to Mercer's Jana Kurtinova:
The picturesque town of Prostejov lies in Moravia's Hana region, near the town of Olomouc. Sitting on a key trade route connecting Europe's south with Europe's north, Prostejov has become an important centre of culture, trade, and industry. In a past edition of Spotlight, we took a tour of the town's National Theatre House; today, we find out more about Prostejov's history and take a brief look at some of the other places that are worth a visit.
434.2186 is the number of a famous historic locomotive that has appeared in countless Czech films including "Pani Kluci" about Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn, a favourite among children and adults. Last Saturday visitors to Prague's Main Station were able to see the jet-black steam engine prepare for a rare but much anticipated journey along part of one of the most picturesque routes in the Czech Republic.
As the summer approaches many Czechs have begun planning their holidays, and those keen on travelling abroad couldn't choose a better time than now. The weakening US dollar, dropping tour prices, and above all higher spending power have all had an impact. In short, many vacations abroad for Czechs have never been cheaper.
The Bata Canal is a man-made waterway that runs through South Moravia. Surrounded by numerous historical sites and a beautiful landscape, tens of thousands of tourists take a ride down the canal every year. But this year, it is expected to attract many more visitors as, for the first time in over a decade, they are able to travel into neighbouring Slovakia without facing a fine.
In Spotlight this week, we go to Vyskov, a town of 23,000 inhabitants, which lies about half an hour's drive from the Moravian capital of Brno. The first written reference to Vyskov dates back to 1141, where its name appears on an ecclesiastical document. By the thirteenth century, Vyskov was listed as part of the property of the Bishop of Olomouc and it was prosperous enough to be considered one of the bishopric's most important towns by the fourteenth century.