The Czech Republic hosted 15.8 million tourists in 2017 according to
preliminary figures from the Ministry for Regional Development.
That figure would represent an increase of 6 percent on the previous year.
Minister Klára Dostalová said there was some success in getting tourists to visit other cities and attractions outside the capital, Prague. She said the problem is that most of these visits are currently day trips and what is needed is trips of two or three days.
The minister denied that Prague now has too many tourists and could experience the backlash against them which has occurred, for example, in Venice and Barcelona.
Much of last year’s increase in tourists was due to ever increasing numbers from China and South Korea.
During the Christmas period and the New Year, the Czech capital attracts hundreds of thousands many of whom want to experience classic Prague over the holidays: mulled wine, romantic walks and more. The same is being appreciated this year, of course, but Prague City Tourism is also putting an emphasis on new hip districts with new eateries, cafes, galleries and other sites people also might want to visit.
Twenty-five years since the Czech and Slovak republics split in the Velvet Divorce, both continue to share remarkably close ties. Not surprisingly, tourism plays a key role, with Czech visitors, for example, making up for more than a third of foreign tourists in Slovakia a year. While the Czech Republic may have the edge in the number of castles and chateaux, sites such as the Tatra Mountains or Slovak Paradise remain major draws for Czechs.
Prague Castle, the Cathedral of St Vitus, Charles Bridge and the astronomical clock on Old Town Square are some of the architectural jewels that attract millions of visitors to Prague every year. What is special about the city is its historic authenticity documenting the city’s urban development of over a thousand years. The integral complex of Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque buildings, its romantic cobbled alleys and gas lamps give visitors the impression that they have travelled back in time.
Liechtenstein Palace at Prague's Kampa, used by the government on the
occasion of special conferences and for international delegations, will be
open to the public over the course of Friday, a national holiday marking
the events of November 17,1989 and November 17,1939, the former the start
of the Velvet Revolution which brought down communism in Czechoslovakia.
Tours of the palace interiors will be possible from 10 am to 4 pm, government spokesman Martin Ayrer confirmed.
Liechtenstein Palace, dating back to the 17th century, has stately apartments which were used by world leaders on official visits, including Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, the king of Spain Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia, and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The number of visitors who stayed in Czech hotels and other forms of
accommodation increased by 5.9 percent year-on-year in the third quarter of
2017 to reach seven million. There was an increase in the number of both
international and domestic tourists, according to figures released on
Wednesday by the Czech Statistics Office.
The total number of nights booked in Czech accommodation facilities between July and October was 19.9 million, a rise of 4.2 percent on the same period in 2016.
Close to 15,000 people visited Prague Castle in the past two days to admire
newly-renovated state rooms which are normally off-limits to the public.
Prague Castle offered special tours on Friday and Saturday which took visitors to the former offices of presidents T.G.Masaryk and Edvard Beneš as well as the Coronation Hall where the president appoints ministers and receives ambassadors.
Visitors also gained admission to the dining hall used by former heads of state and could admire the authentic porcelain sets and silverware used on special occasions.
U.S. News & World Report has just rated Prague as their Best Christmas Vacation, beating out nearby Vienna, which came in second, and Santa Fe, New Mexico, which was ranked third. Described as a “winter wonderland you’ve got to see to believe”, the publication also praised the Czech capital’s increasingly famous seasonal markets. I asked Barbora Hrubá of Prague City Tourism, the body which promotes the capital city, to present her pitch for why Prague is being lauded as a Christmas destination: