Tourism up in the Czech Republic compared to last year, but still way below pre-pandemic levels

Five quarters of year-on-year tourism decreases have ended, but just because the comparison base is so low.

Raymond Johnston

Written by Raymond Johnston
Published on 09.08.2021 12:43 (updated on 09.08.2021)

In the second quarter of this year, some 1.6 million guests were accommodated in domestic hotels, boarding houses and campsites, which was an increase of 51.3 percent compared to the same time in 2021. In total, guests spent 4.2 million nights in accommodation facilities, an increase of 56.1 percent compared to last year, according to data from the Czech Statistical Office (ČSÚ).

Attendance was up year on year for the first time in five quarters, but compared to 2019, before the coronavirus pandemic, it still is less that a third of what it was.

The pandemic in the Czech Republic started in March 2020, the end of the first quarter of that year. Hotels in particular faced tough restrictions in the second quarter or 2020. For part of the time, there was ban on free movement of people, borders were largely closed, and there were restrictions on incoming tourists. Compared to 2019, the numbers of guests and overnight stays were both down over 80 percent.

So the year on year increase in stays for the second quarter of 2021 is mainly due to the very low base for comparison.

Illustrative image, Prague hotel in art nouveau style (Photo: iStock / Nikada)
Illustrative image, Prague hotel in art nouveau style (Photo: iStock / Nikada)

The number of overnight stays of guests from abroad in Q2 2021 increased by 108.5 percent and overnight stays by guests from the Czech Republic rose by 50.3 percent when compared to the same time if previous year. From the total number of overnight stays, 53 percent were spent in hotels, 17 percent in boarding houses, and 8 percent in tourist campsites.

The number of domestic guests increased 47.4 percent and foreign guests by 79.1 percent on the yeat. The number of guests in hotels reached 906.000 and was up by 64.1 percent on the year, boarding houses accommodated by 52.4 percent more, and tourist campsites welcomed 30.3 percent more guests.

The number of guests increased in all Czech regions compared to the same time in 2020. The highest year-on-year increases of guests were reported in Prague, up 90.0 percent, and by the Karlovy Vary region, up 72.0 percent. Prague hotels had been among the hardest hit in Europe.

Karlovy Vary. (photo: Spa.cz)
Spa colonnade in Karlovy Vary. (photo: Spa.cz)

The highest number of non-resident foreign guests by citizenship came from Germany. They accounted for one-fourth of guests from abroad, with some 57,000 arrivals. Compared to the corresponding period of the previous year, their number increased by 14.5 percent. The second-most numerous group of visitors came from Slovakia, at 53,000, up 75.6 percent. Guests from Poland ranked third with arrivals, up 147.3 percent.

“However, numbers of guests from abroad are still low, they do not reach even one-tenth of the number of arrivals from the period before the coronavirus pandemic in 2019,” the ČSÚ stated.

Spa accommodation establishments also saw relative increases in Q2 2021. They were visited by 93,000 guests in total, or by 68.7 percent more compared to the second quarter of 2020. The number of overnight stays also increased by 54.1 percent higher.

The number of arrivals as well as the number of nights spent in Czech and Moravian spas was higher for both residents and non-residents, year-on-year. However, the number of guests from the Czech Republic considerably outnumbered those from abroad. Nine out of ten of accommodated guests in spa accommodation establishments were Czechs, and their average stay lasted for 10 nights.

Revenues from service providers increased by 14.8 percent year-on-year in the second quarter, rising for the first time since the end of 2019. The highest increase was recorded in tourism-related sectors. This was again due to a significant drop in revenues last year due to measures against the spread of Covid-19. For example, air transport sales have more than doubled.

“Quarterly sales in services increased for the first time since the end of 2019. The high growth rates in tourism-related sectors are the result of significant declines last year,” the ČSÚ stated.

In the tourism sector, in addition to air transport, accommodation facilities have improved, for example, with sales rising by one-third. Revenues of travel agencies were more than five times higher than in the second quarter of last year. Revenues from hospitality and catering establishments increased by a third. In catering and hospitality they were higher compared to the second quarter of last year by 33.3 percent and in accommodation by 27.9 percent.

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