What first comes to mind when someone mentions the Czech Republic? Most people think of good beer, some think of the former president Vaclav Havel ; others of Jaromir Jagr or Pavel Nedved. However despite the fact that the Czech Republic has been a fully fledged member of the EU since 2004, few people in Europe and beyond know much about it. The Czech Foreign Ministry has launched a campaign to change that and aims to present the Czech Republic as a modern, dynamic state in the heart of Europe.
It was to be the party of the year given by the prestigious fashion company Louis Vuitton on Prague's most famous landmark - Charles Bridge. However the idea that Charles Bridge, considered a national treasure, should be closed to the public for two days because of a private party has elicited so much criticism that city councilors have had to step in and lay down strict new rules pertaining to the two day lease.
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.
Major new residential and office district to go up in Prague’s Hagibor district
From underground bunkers to “Fire Mountain”: how Prague’s poorest have lived over the centuries
Czechs set to go beyond EU proposals on ‘dual quality’ foods, products with outright ban
Czech hiking trails mark 130 years
Rainbow Map of Europe shows relative position of sexual minorities worsening in Czechia