German tourists breathe life into Prague with overseas travelers still missing

German tourists are flocking to the Czech Republic to escape tough Covid restrictions at home in a lifeline for Prague businesses.

 William Nattrass

Written by William Nattrass
Published on 17.08.2021 21:00 (updated on 17.08.2021)

Visitors from Germany are throwing a lifeline to Prague tourism businesses. As the Czech capital continues to struggle with a lack of visitors from abroad, Prague City Tourism has released new data showing the importance of travelers from the Czech Republic's western neighbor so far this year.

20,000 German tourists came to Prague in the second quarter of 2021, and during the summer this number is thought to have increased even more. While non-EU travelers from the United States, the United Kingdom and Asia have still not returned in large numbers, German families and groups are proving vital to the continued operation of tourism facilities and service providers, and are now second only to domestic Czech travellers in terms of visitor numbers.

“I am pleased that this year’s V Praze (In Prague) program attracted domestic visitors who decided to come to the capital on holiday, and also that French and German can now be heard on the streets of the city again,” said Hana Třeštíková, Councilor for Culture and Tourism.

“Thanks to the more stable epidemiological situation, cultural events will welcome visitors again after a long time, and I believe this will help tourism restart more quickly both in Prague and throughout the country,” she added.

Germany’s federal system for Covid restrictions means rules can vary from region to region. In some areas, strict measures remain in place limiting the activities of hospitality providers, making the comparative freedom of Prague’s restaurants, bars and entertainment providers a welcome relief.

To enter the Czech Republic, travelers from Germany need either a negative test result, confirmation of vaccination, or proof on antibodies showing they have had the virus. Germany is currently green on the Czech Covid travel map.

Although the Charles Bridge is starting to resemble its former self as domestic and European visitors slowly return, the Covid crisis goes on for Prague’s huge tourism industry. Hospitality providers in the capital have been hit worse than in any other part of the country due to their dependence on foreign custom.

“Under normal circumstances, around a fifth of Prague tourists come from the United States, Great Britain and Asia. At the moment, they only account for two percent,” said Prague City Tourism.

According to the Czech Statistical Office, 252,427 guests arrived in the Czech capital in the second quarter of the year. Although an improvement on last year’s dire figures, this number is still only 11.3 percent of the number of visitors welcomed in the same period in 2019. What’s more, many of these visitors are domestic travelers attracted by uniquely discounted prices for food and accommodation who are therefore likely to spend less money than tourists from abroad.

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