"Tell you what mate; all the fittest birds in the Czech Republic - supermodels every one of them! And the blokes here - they live like kings! And they've got the best football team in the world....and the beer....." These are words from a TV commercial, selling a Czech beer brand. This is how many Czechs would like their country to be seen abroad. But many others would prefer a slightly more sophisticated image. So how should the Czech Republic sell its image abroad? That's a question that the government is trying to answer, as it launches a new
Rob Cameron's guest on One on One this week is Rostislav Vondruska, head of the Czech tourist board Czechtourism. Believe it or not a famous tourist destination like the Czech Republic does need promoting, especially in order to persuade tourists to leave Prague and see what else the country has to offer.
Among the better known destinations outside the capital Prague are Czech spa towns like Karlovy Vary and Marianske Lazne, also known as Carlsbad and Marienbad. For decades "taking the waters" on doctors orders, and paid for by the state, has been taken for granted in the Czech Republic. Now, though, spending time at the country's spas is becoming something of a luxury for Czechs, as the country's health care system is overhauled. To make up for the shortfall in patients, the spas have found the answer: more foreigners.
A bizarre new fashion has come to the Czech Republic - people are getting themselves ravens as house pets. The attractions of shopping abroad: Germans come to the Czech Republic, while Czechs head for Poland. And, how small is the smallest present in the world? Find out more in Magazine with Daniela Lazarova.
The Czech Tourist Office has revealed statistics showing that over 72 million tourists visited the Czech Republic in the first three quarters of 2004 - roughly the same as the previous year. The vast majority of visits, however, involve day-trips in which tourists come to the country on short business trips or to shop. According to the tourist office the number of tourists who actually spend at least one night in the country is around 5 million per year. The Czech Tourist Office has reported that the number of visitors from neighbouring countries has actually fallen in 2004, despite a simplification of procedures at border crossings following EU accession in May.