Travel and Tourism - Czech Republic - November 2013
When it comes to attracting European tourists, the Czech Republic’s central location gives it a distinct advantage. Unfortunately, those neighbouring countries happen to be Germany, Poland, Slovakia and Austria, which, along with their fellow European Union (EU) members were badly impacted by the 2008-09 European recession. Financial uncertainty led to a loss of consumer confidence and from 2008 onwards, international tourist arrivals dropped. Tourism revenues also fell, but only by a small margin.
The picture is not entirely gloomy, however. Although overall international tourist arrivals are down, some segments of the inbound market are strong and getting stronger – Russia being the prime example. The number of tourists from the Russian Federation has doubled since 2008.
Domestic tourism is, however, showing signs of weakness. The Czech Republic is suffering through a second recession, as well as political upheavals and financial restraints imposed by the government.
The Czech Republic’s gateway, Prague’s Vaclav Havel Airport, saw a slight drop in the number of international passengers passing through its doors. Data from the Prague Airport Company show that in 2011 (the most recent year available) the airport handled 11.8 million passengers (down from 12.6 million in 2008), but that figure includes transit passengers and it was those who mostly accounted for the decrease in air traffic. According to the Prague Airport Company, the number of domestic and regional passengers actually went up – by almost 2% – another cause for optimism.
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