Border re-openings across Europe have been widely reported this past week, but early research indicates that the majority of Czechs are planning to stay home in the wake of the global coronavirus pandemic that brought the tourism industry to a complete halt this spring.
Czech lawmakers are responding to both the need to support domestic tourism and Czech culture with a new initiative, Holiday in the Czech Republic, which would give holidaymakers incentives to enjoy attractions at home, versus traveling abroad.
On Monday, the state announced that it will kick off the project by contributing to spa stays, said Minister for Regional Development Klára Dostálová (ANO).
Spa visitors will receive up to 40 percent of the price of procedures and expenses associated with a visit to the spa, up to a maximum of 4,000 CZK. A minimum six-day spa stay would be required.
Discounted spa visits are part of a larger action plan to support domestic tourism.
“The aim of the campaign is to motivate a group of undecided people to travel around the Czech Republic. Emphasis is placed on supporting domestic companies, visiting unknown destinations, extending the season, quality and safety of services,” the ministry wrote in a plan outlining the initiative.
According to Dostálová, the ministry conducted a survey among 1,300 respondents, which showed that only about 15 percent of Czechs want to spend their holidays abroad this year.
Negotiations still need to be held with health insurance companies, according to the minister.
Unfortunately for summer spa-seekers the project isn’t scheduled to begin until the end of the year, writes iDnes.cz.
The famed Czech spa towns of Karlovy Vary, Mariánské Lázně, and Františkovy Lázně, collectively known as the “West Bohemian Spa Triangle” are considered among the most famous in Europe.
The tradition is such an integral part of Czech culture that these sites were in recent years submitted as candidates for UNESCO World Heritage Site status as part of the Great Spas of Europe project.
While spa towns that treated ailments using mineral waters and other techniques in the days before modern medicine were once a mainstay throughout Europe, few exist today in their original form and many rely entirely on foreign tourism for revenue.