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Czech tourism arrival numbers not too good

A large drop in foreign tourists to the Czech Republic was to blame for the drop in tourism revenue, including cheaper accommodations.

PRAGUE – Congress (MICE) tourism in the Czech Republic fell in the first half this year as the number of congresses and conferences dropped by 22 percent for the previous year to 5,256.

Recently the Prague Convention Bureau opened a North American bureau in Texas to attract conferences to the golden city. Doctors’ conventions and company incentive trips are on the target list.

Tourism to the Czech Republic dropped year-on-year in the second quarter of 2013, according to the Czech Statistical Office (CSU). Overall the news was mixed with some regions showing an increase while others declined. Spa tourism saw an overall increase in visitors, but shorter stays. In related news, congress tourism dropped significantly in the first half of 2013.

Non-residents (their number of overnight stays went down by 8.8 percent) contributed to the decrease more than residents (a decrease by 0.2 percent). In hotels, there was a decrease of the number of overnight stays in average by 0.2 percent; pensions went down by 9.9 percent year-on-year and camp sites by 27.3 percent,” statisticians said

The number of overnight stays in collective accommodation establishments totaled 9.4 million in Q2 2013; this was 4.0 percent less than in the same period of the previous year.

The decline was not even across the country, and some areas even saw an increase. “From regional point of view, the highest drop was shown by accommodation establishments in Hradec Kralove region by 12.1 percent and Pardubice region by 11.4 percent. In contrast there was a growth in the number of overnight stays in four regions. An increase over 1 percentage point was reported by Olomouc (by 1.4 percent) and Zlin, region (by 1.3 percent),” the CSU said.

While the number of overnight stays dropped significantly, the decline in the number of visitors was less severe. Some 3.5 million visitors arrived in hotels and other collective accommodation establishments, 1.3 percent fewer than in the second quarter of 2012.

“The number of foreign guests went slightly up (by 0.4 percent); domestic guests stayed overnight in the last quarter less by 3.4 percent. Only hotels reported a growth by 1.7 percent, pensions on the contrary recorded a decrease by 8.1 percent in the number of guests. Camps also visited fewer guests than a year ago (by 28.5 percent) and the demand for other collective accommodation establishments went down by 7.2 percent,” the CSU said. West Bohemia saw the biggest drop, while the Olomouc and Zlin region saw the biggest increase.

Spa accommodation establishments were visited by 202,000 guests in Q2 2013, an increase of 7.5 percent on the year, with residents up by 2.3 percent and non-residents by 13.4 percent. But many people didn’t stay as long. “Foreign guests cut their stays in spas by 7.9 percent to 8.5 nights in average and domestic by 23.3 percent to 7.9 nights. In the Karlovy Vary region, which has consistently shown a share of more than half of the number of arrivals as well as overnight stays in spa establishments, the number of arrivals of non-residents increased by 8.4 percent; the number of residents on contrary dropped by 9.0 percent,” the CSU said.

Five-star hotels had the highest utilization from all categories of hotels, 59.1 percent, and increased their usage by 1.0 percentage point. Utilization of four-star hotels decreased by 0.8 percentage points to 52.6 percent. A 1.1 percentage point decrease was also reported also three-star hotels. Other hotels and pensions raised their utilization by 0.6 percentage points.

The number of participants in congress events decreased accordingly, by 21.5 percent to 656,000, according to the CSU. Four-star hotels saw the biggest drop, 25 percent, of congress events.

“The state does not sufficiently promote Prague as a congress destination abroad and domestic companies are economizing,” Olympic hotel head Vlastislav Sos told the Czech News Agency (CTK). According to state agency CzechTourism, the decline was caused by austerity measures adopted by companies as well as public-sector agencies due to the ongoing financial crisis. “From the long-term point of view, it is a one-off deviation without a deep analytical significance. A problem would arise if this trend continued in the following years,” Marketa Vogelova, head of marketing analysis at CzechTourism, told CTK.

Zdenek Giormani, head of the Czech Convention Bureau, found additional causes. “Other factors that have influenced and are influencing this segment were this year’s floods and the [Czech] governmental crisis,” he said.

Prague has reached number 11th on a chart compiled by the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA), which is its highest position in the past six years. The number of congresses and conferences held in the Czech Republic has been growing steadily since 2006. During this period it rose from 3,230 to 11,547 in 2012, according to CTK.

For overall tourism, the highest number of foreign guests in the second quarter of 2013 came traditionally from Germany (357,000); this was 6.9 percent lower than a year ago. The second largest group was guests from Russia (199,000) with an increase in arrivals by 7.4 percent. Next came the United States of America with 118,000 arrivals and Poland with 114,000. China was in 10th place 44,000 arrivals, a with a year-on-year growth of 16.4 percent.

Co-Founder & Chief Editor - TravelDailyNews Media Network | Website | + Posts

Vicky is the co-founder of TravelDailyNews Media Network where she is the Editor-in Chief. She is also responsible for the daily operation and the financial policy. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Tourism Business Administration from the Technical University of Athens and a Master in Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Wales.

She has many years of both academic and industrial experience within the travel industry. She has written/edited numerous articles in various tourism magazines.

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