Hundreds of Greek and foreign tourists, including many Czechs, were evacuated from two hotels in northern Greece because of a forest fire, which broke out on Monday. About 90 Czech children spent the night on a beach as the flames were progressing towards their hotel. According to the Czech Foreign Ministry, all Czech nationals in the area are safe. A decision is imminent on whether to bring them back home and busses are on standby for that purpose.
Late into Monday hundreds of Czechs tourists - including many children - were among those at risk at a resort on Greece's Chalkidiki peninsula where a forest fire broke out following days of intense heat and an extensive dry spell. Strong winds fanning the flames soon saw the fire spread along a nine kilometre area leading to some panic and hasty evacuations.
From the start of this week two advertisements for Prague have been appearing several times a day on the international TV station CNN, drawing attention to the Czech capital's many charms. The campaign is sponsored by Czech Airlines and is set to run until October; it's Prague's first campaign of this type. At the ads' launch, I spoke to the city's mayor, Pavel Bem, and asked him what kind of tourists he wants to attract to Prague.
The height of the summer tourist season in the Czech capital comes with a sharp increase of tourists in the streets, as well as an increase in crime. Signs in trams and the subway system—written in both Czech and English—warn people to keep a close eye on their belongings. Pickpockets are everywhere. Still, in search of a better deal, some people enter the trap of con artists operating in the tourist zones.
The leading British insurance company Norwich Union has carried out a survey of theft and personal safety in various holiday destinations around the globe. It doesn't make very positive reading for the Czech authorities: according to Norwich Union, you're more likely to have your pocket picked in the Czech Republic than anywhere else in the world. Dawn McMullan is the company's travel project manager:
Cosmetic surgery, once a privilege of the rich, is now reshaping women and men of all ages and incomes. You can opt for a total face-lift or just gentle Botox injections that stretch your wrinkles and smooth your skin for up to six months. 'After all, it's important to look good' I learn from a leaflet I picked up in a cozy waiting room of one of several state-of-the-art clinics in Prague. Without a doubt, I agree. After all, what 'sells' more than design?
The state agency CzechTourism has kicked-off an event titled as "Czech
Days in China" in China, aimed at attracting tourists from that country
to the Czech Republic. The "Czech Days" event - funded from EU
structural funds - will last until June 25th. The agency has described
the event as a 'road show' highlighting the Czech services industry,
presenting Czech regions and professional associations.
CzechTourism initially began keeping track of Chinese statistics last year. While Chinese visits formed just 0.3 percent of the overall number of visitors to the Czech Republic in 2005 (roughly 18,000 visitors out of 6.4 million), experts point to China's enormous potential. By some estimates in fifteen years 100 million Chinese will have the necessary funds to travel to Europe.
A court has ordered the city of Prague to pay more than 110,000 dollars in compensation to a British tourist who was seriously injured when a Christmas tree fell on him in December 2003. Malcolm Tuffin's spine and femur bones were fractured when strong winds brought down the 30-metre tree in a crowded Christmas market on Prague's Old Town Square. Mr Tuffin is now confined to a wheelchair.
It's that time of year again. When the first sunrays glisten off the small plastic replicas of the Petrin Tower being sold on Charles Bridge and the evening chorus of flocks of stag parties can be heard across the Old Town. The tourist season is upon us; another wave of the estimated 6 million people who visit the city each year. And it's no wonder. Prague has a lot to offer as a tourist destination: stunning architecture, cultural heritage and of course you can't leave out the national drink. But I can never help but wonder how many visitors are
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