Welcome to Spotlight, Radio Prague's travel programme taking you on a continuing journey through the Czech lands. In today's edition, though, not a destination but a look at trends in tourism. This week, the state-run agency CzechTourism, together with the private Association of Czech Travel Agencies, released tourism statistics for 2005 as well as the forecast for 2006. According to the survey, the outlook for the Czech tourist industry this year will once again be favourable.
The Czech Republic currently has several institutions that promote it abroad. CzechInvest and CzechTrade, for example, focus on business and economics. CzechTourism is self-explanatory, and the country's numerous Czech Centres around the world mainly concentrate on culture. But the work of these agencies has never been co-ordinated. Until now that is. On Wednesday the government announced that Czech-Canadian Otto Jelinek is to become the country's first International Co-ordinator for Economic Activities.
A quarter of a million visitors are expected to spend Christmas and New
Year in the Czech Republic, a tourism monitoring agency told
Hospodarske noviny. Most tourists are expected to visit Prague, though
the country's health spas will also do good business in the next couple
Meanwhile, around 12,000 Czechs are planning to spend the festive season on exotic beach holidays, while twice that number will go skiing abroad.
Some 2.9 million foreign tourists visited the Czech Republic in the first six months of 2005, the CzechTourism agency has said. Compared to the same period last year, the number increased by more than eight percent. The capital Prague, the Karlovy Vary region and the South Moravian region saw the most visitors, with Prague taking a 60-percent share in Czech incoming tourism.
Since the fall of the Iron Curtain, Prague has become one of the most visited tourist destinations in Europe. But in the last few years the Czech capital has also become hugely popular with British stag groups, large groups of men celebrating some husband-to-be's last weekend of freedom, or just here to have a good time in a city which has earned a dubious reputation as "the Amsterdam of the East".
Prague is not just the city with a thousand spires but also a modern place that guarantees round the clock fun. That's how City Hall is introducing the Czech capital to the world. In a three-minute clip, it takes the attention away from the country's famed liquid bread to present it as a place of dynamic and sophisticated entertainment.
The government tourist board CzechTourism has revealed the results of a
survey looking at reasons why foreigners visit the Czech Republic:
according to the poll: relaxation and exploration top the list.
According to the board, foreigners come most to visit friends as well
as come on business trips and for sports and cultural events. Last year
8 million foreigners visited the Czech Republic - that number is
expected to grow by 10 percent this year.
CzechTourism's survey polled some 8,000 respondents in Austria, Germany, Poland, and Slovkia, of whom less than one percent said they had never visited the Czech Republic.
Croatia's Adriatic Coast is the most popular foreign holiday destination for Czechs, with an estimated 800,000 expected to flock there this summer, that's nearly a tenth of the whole Czech population. But several Czech tourists have suffered accidents in Croatia this summer, with 14 dying, several of them at sea. Now the country's police have issued an appeal: they say Czechs should behave more carefully, and not underestimate the dangers of the Adriatic.
A Czech Airlines special has returned from Egypt bringing back 176 Czech and Slovak holidaymakers who decided to cut short their vacations following Saturday's terrorist attacks. The plane, an Airbus A-310, is the third flight since Saturday to bring Czechs home from the Sharm el-Sheikh Red Sea Resort. A fourth is expected to return an additional 200 people late Monday. The Foreign Ministry has estimated there were between 1,500 and 2,000 Czech holidaymakers staying in the Sharm el-Sheik area, in about 40 different hotels, at the time of Saturday's attacks. Ministry spokesman Vit Kolar has said that it was a matter of luck that more Czechs weren't hurt or killed: one Czech man was among the more than 80 people who died.
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