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Tourism

Published on: Sept. 6, 2021, 4:07 p.m.
Bohemian, and more
  • Vyšehrad is a historic fort in Prague, the most popular destination for travellers to the country

By Suman Tarafdar

If the very name – or former name – of the country implies a fun, artsy vibe, can the country be any different? Fortunately, the Czech Republic, of which Bohemia makes up a greater part, is still a major draw for tourists, and not just due to the name! Situated at almost the centre of Europe, it is blessed with natural and cultural riches – from imposing forts to magical castles (including Cinderella’s supposed home), rolling mountains home to skiing resorts, cycling tours, wine and beer trails, historic towns, vast national parks, famous waterfalls, spa towns and more. Major tourism draws include not just the capital Prague, but also Český Krumlov, Brno and Karlovy Vary.

For perspective, the Czech Republic, or Czechia, is about the size of Assam or Jharkhand (about 2.4 per cent of India’s area) and has a population that is less than one percent of India’s, though with a per capita GDP that is about 20 times more than India’s. 

Looking ahead

“Tourism in Czech Republic has already begun to revive", says Marek Kroutil, International Marketing Manager, Czech Tourism. “We see a lot of wonderful ‘workcations’, a new normal we can get behind. Travellers prefer to be surrounded by nature, landscape of forests and fishponds with beautiful countryside and rural farms. We have also seen a rise in outdoor activities, tourists can cycle along 40,000 km of unforgettable Czech trails.”  

In 2019, Czechia received 98,012 Indian arrivals. “We have been seeing a Y-o-Y growth from India in the last few years,” points out Kroutil. “In general, the drop of the tourism industry in the number of tourists was around 90 per cent, which is closely connected with the drop of revenues.” Numbers from India last year echo the trends.

  • Kroutil: India has always been one of our growing markets

    Kroutil: India has always been one of our growing markets

While travel to the European Union, of which Czechia is a part, is now possible, Kroutil cautions that travellers from the all countries including high-risk countries like India are obliged to fill in the arrival form (the exception being children under the age of six), submit negative PCR test before arrival (when travelling by public transport) and undergo an RT-PCR test within 24 hours after arrival. “For India, it is currently the 10th day which is the earliest to undergo the second RT-PCR test. Until receiving a negative result of the test, it is necessary to self-isolate.”

In 2021, Czech Tourism is promoting lesser-known castles and chateaux around the Czech Republic and the next years will be more devoted to the intangible heritage of the country. Kroutil says the focus “has majorly shifted to digital in the past year. Czech Tourism India is making the most out of the current situation by educating and informing the travel trade about the various facets of the destination. We have also rolled out an e-learning module for travel trade partners in India. 

  • A magnificent Gothic water castle, Švihov Castle is the supposed home of Cinderella

    A magnificent Gothic water castle, Švihov Castle is the supposed home of Cinderella

From online trade shows, e-learning modules, webinars to social media campaigns; we are reaching out to the consumer and our trade partners through various online channels. India-specific Instagram and Facebook handles have also been launched.

Kroutil is optimistic about the future. “In terms of opportunities, India has always been one of our growing markets. Our biggest challenge remains the lack of direct flights to the Czech Republic from India. If we have a direct connection, then I’m sure we will see a bigger influx of Indian tourists.” With new destinations high on Indian traveller’s priority list, the Czech Republic is poised to cash, or maybe Czech in.

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