Love locks left behind by tourists. via Raymond Johnston

Tourism up in first half of 2019, but Prague stagnates

Tourism figures are up for the sixth year, but Prague's increase was below average

Tourism numbers increased again in the Czech Republic in the first half of 2019, the sixth year of continual growth. The total number of guests in collective accommodation establishments was up 3.6 percent compared to the same time last year, reaching 9.76 million. Foreign visitors accounted for 4.97 million, up 2.7 percent, and residents were at 4.79 million, up 4.5 percent, according to the Czech Statistical Office (ČSÚ).

Prague’s increases for the first half were below the averages, with guests up just 1 percent, and overnight stays up less than 1 percent. But the second-quarter figures taken alone were more promising.

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Collective accommodation establishments include hotels, pensions, hostels, campgrounds and similar places. Every type of hotel and all other accommodation categories showed an increase except hostels. Overnight stays tracks how many nights that guests spend in collective accommodation establishments.

The number of overnight stays across the country in the first half of the year reached 24.79 million, an increase of 4.0 percent, and again was closely split with foreigners at 12.46 million and residents at 12.34 million.

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Prague accounted for 3.67 million of the first half’s 9.76 million visitors, and an increase of 1.0 percent compared to the same period of last year. There was a much more pronounced split, with foreigners at 3.08 million, an increase of 1.3 percent, while residents accounted for only 596,063, up 5.0 percent.

lennon wall
Tourists at the John Lennon Wall. via Raymond Johnston

The capital city also was responsible for 8.36 million of the country’s 24.76 million overnight stays, with foreign visitors adding up to 7.36 million nights. The percentage increase was minimal, though, with overnight stays up just 0.6 percent and those by foreigners up a paltry 0.1 percent,

All regions saw an increase in guests in the first half, and all except the Zlín region saw an increase in overnight stays.

The second-most visited region was South Moravia, which includes Brno. It saw 884,936 guests that used accommodation, up 5.5 percent, and 1.62 million overnight stays, up 4.7 percent. More guests were domestic residents than foreigners.

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The Karlovy Vary region, though, was second for overnight stays with 2.53 million nights, but the total number of guests was 549,076. This means that visitors on average stayed for a longer time than ones to South Moravia.

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Zelný trh in Brno. via Raymond Johnston

Figures for the second quarter of 2019 showed a larger percentage increases than for the overall first half. From the start of April to the end of June, the total number of guests in collective accommodation establishments in the Czech Republic increased year-on-year by 4.9 percent to reach 5.75 million.

The number of overnight stays reached 14.00 million nights in Q2 2019, up 3.8 percent compared to the corresponding period of the previous year.

The number of overnight stays of foreign guests increased by 3.9 percent; while domestic guests spent 3.8 percent more nights.

Prague in the second quarter had 2.16 million visitors, up 3.4 percent, and 4.94 million overnight stays, up 2.9 percent. Foreigners accounted for 1.84 million guests, up 3.6 percent, and 4.40 million overnight stays, up 3.1 percent.

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In the second quarter, all regions except Vysočina saw an increase in guests and all regions except Vysočina and Zlín had increased overnight stays.

The regions showing significant increases fit in with CzechTourism’s goals to spread tourism beyond Prague to many of the country’s other notable urban and natural sights. CzechTourism has had several local and international campaigns to get the word out on the well-preserved town, castles, spas, religious locations, and winter sports opportunities.

Germany was the biggest source of foreign tourists visiting the Czech Republic, accounting for 978,963 people in the first half of 2019, up 3.2 percent. Slovakia, Poland, and Russia were in second through fourth place. The first non-European country to rank was China, in fifth place with 277,401 visitors, an increase of 4.1 percent. The US, UK, South Korea, Italy, and France finished the top 10.

All of the top 10 countries showed increases except Russia, South Korea, and Italy. The biggest increase was from France, up 13.4 percent to reach 153,289 visitors.

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