Current Affairs Foreign visitors flock to Czech Republic
The Czech Republic saw a record number of foreign visitors this year. According to the data released by the state-run tourist authority, CzechTourism, a record 21.1 million foreigners visited the country in the first nine month of 2015, which is an 8.5 percent rise compared to the same period last year.
The Czech Republic saw a significant drop in Russian tourists in 2015, which was, however, compensated by a marked growth in the number of visitors from Asia. Most of the foreign tourists, who visited the Czech Republic, nearly 11 percent, came only for a day, while 6.7 percent stayed in the country for at least one night. Another nearly two million used the Czech Republic as a transit country.
Markéta Vogelová, director of the Institute of Tourism at CzechTourism, the state-run tourist authority, outlines the main factors behind this year’s favourable results:
“We think that the growth was driven mainly by an increasing demand on the neighbouring European markets with Germany as a leading country. The growing demand in most of the European countries was influenced by the money policy by the Czech National Bank, which makes the price of holidays in the Czech Republic more reasonable for tourists.
The number of tourists has increased across the whole of the Czech Republic, but Prague still remains the number one attraction, with more than 60 percent of foreign visitors heading to the capital this year.
The greatest number of tourists visiting the Czech Republic traditionally came from the neighbouring Germany. The number of Russian tourists, on the other hand, dropped significantly, to some 16 percent from the overall number of foreign tourists. Markéta Vogelová again:
“Russians were usually number two in the number of foreign tourists but this year their number decreased by almost 38 percent. They were replaced by tourists from Slovakia, Poland and the United States. But in terms of the growth of incoming tourists the leading countries are China with the increase of 40 percent and South Korea with 38 percent increase.
Expenditures of Chinese tourists have also increased rapidly. This is the first year that the Chinese spent more than Russians. And there are also tourists from Hong Kong, who spent the largest amounts on shopping in Europe as well as in the Czech Republic.”
According to Markéta Vogelová, the main reasons behind the fall in the number of Russian tourists are the unfavourable exchange rate of rouble, as well as the political situation in Russia and its relationship with the EU. Foreign visitors to the Czech Republic spend on average 2.7 days in the Czech Republic, which Markéta Vogelová says copies the word-wide trend of taking multiple shorter holidays instead of spending longer time in one destination.