Prague officials approve new plan to do tourism differently, focus on quality of life for residents

Looking ahead to a post-COVID-19 world, Prague seeks to brand itself away from a destination for stag parties and alcotourism

Jason Pirodsky

Written by Jason Pirodsky
Published on 19.10.2020 16:27 (updated on 19.10.2020)

Businesses in Prague's city center that cater to foreign tourists have been significantly impacted by the coronavirus crisis, with tourism in the Czech capital down about 90% in the second quarter of 2020.

But when things pick back up, those venues might want to expect a different kind of crowd: Prague city officials have just approved a comprehensive new plan for sustainable tourism that seeks to put the city first and achieve a balance with quality of life for residents.

Over the past two decades, Prague has become known as a destination for alcotourim and other cheap thrills; obnoxious stag parties in the city center have become an increasingly common sight for residents - and may have turned other visitors away from coming back, too.

But while local businesses suffer, the extra solitude brought about by COVID-19 has been a blessing in disguise for residents in the city center. Prague's new plan hopes to satisfy the needs of both camps.

"The newly-created concept is a plan for several years ahead to maximize the positives of tourism and minimize the negatives associated with it," Hana Třeštíková, Prague's councilor for culture and tourism, states in a press release.

"We do not only address tourism itself, but we reflect the needs and interests of the city and its inhabitants. We want to cultivate inbound tourism for a cultured clientele who is interested in the local environment, looking for original, authentic, and local products and services, and spending more money here."

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"I think that we will all be happy when Prague no longer ranks among the top positions for cheap alcotourism destinations."

The new concept was unanimously approved by city officials on Thursday, October 15.

While specifics of the new plan have yet to be unveiled, among its primary goals is to deal with overtourism in the city center, which has pushed residents to the outskirts of the city and replaced them with services for tourists.

According to a press release, the new plan aims to "emphasize the cultural heritage and uniqueness that Prague has, and create an environment for the development of tourism within the sustainable development of the city."

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A special focus will be on attracting domestic tourists; the COVID-19 epidemic has shown that while other locations across the country seen smaller dips in their tourism levels, Prague is especially reliant on foreign visitors.

Under the new plan, Prague also aims to improve its communication with both residents and visitors. Part of that will be through new tourist routes that lead outside of the city center, a new app to help guide tourists through the city, and improving the city's accessibility.

The city also wants to better communicate nightlife rules and regulations with new visitors, develop a nightlife that doesn't disturb residents, and attract repeat visitors.

"This is the first comprehensive concept for destination management in the city," says Prague City Tourism chair František Cipro.

"In the future, we want to support tourism outside the main season, among other things, and target visitor groups that go to Prague for a different reason than to take a quick photo on Charles Bridge or come to Prague for an unlimited party.”