Business News


In this week’s edition of Business News: hotel and guest house visitors stay away; Prague airport predicts doubling of passenger numbers; home construction sector sees more completions but fewer new starts; Škoda Auto ponders low cost large car; and a new Czech brew from across the border.

Hotels and pensions suffer visitor decline in 2009

Czech hotels and guest houses suffered a 6.0 percent drop in guests and a 5.7 percent fall in overnight stays in 2009 compared with 2008 according to the national statistics office. The trend in the last quarter of the year showed no sign of recovery with the same 6.0 percent decline in guests and a larger 7.5 percent drop in overnight stays. The only bright spot among the figures was an increase in the number of nights spent in four- and five-star hotels. Among foreign visitors, there were big increases in Austrians and Spaniards, with the numbers of Russians and British visitors down by almost a quarter.

Prague airport predicts doubled passenger figures within decade

Václav Havel international airport,  photo: archive of Radio Prague
Such figures have not dented the optimism of managers at Prague’s international airport. They estimate passenger traffic at the airport will almost double within 10 years to reach 21.2 million annually. Last year 11.6 million passengers passed through Ruzyně airport. That was the first fall in numbers over the last decade. The expected take off in passenger numbers depends on the building of a new runway which would boost capacity beyond the existing 16.5 million passengers a year.

Fewer home construction projects in the pipeline

Meanwhile, there is mixed news from the construction sector. The number of new flats and houses completed in 2009 was actually 0.4 percent up on 2008. The total of flats completed last year actually exceeded the number of new starts for the first time in the last 15 years. But the trend in fewer new starts continued at the end of last year, with a 21.2 percent drop in the last quarter compared with the same period in 2008. Other construction sectors show more activity in the pipeline with the value of new planning permissions during the year up an estimated 4.3 percent.

Škoda Auto eyes cheap low cost large car

The country‘s biggest car producer Škoda Auto is seeking to produce a cheap large car that would make use of components from past models of its best-selling Octavia model according to the Czech daily Dnes. It says the idea is at the stage of a working plan but suppliers have already been sounded out over whether they can supply the parts. The paper says the car would cost around 260,000 crowns, or just under 14,000 US dollars, which is around a third cheaper than a basic Octavia model. The paper says the concept of a new model with hardly any new research is inspired by the success of the Logan produced by Dacia in Romania.

Czech beer makes comeback from across the border

The western border town of Cheb will celebrate the return of its local beer this weekend after a 17 year interruption. The local brewery was closed down in 1993 by one of the big brewers as part of its rationalisation. The revival of Cheb’s Hradní lager is part of the local micro-brewery revival, or rather will be. The catch is that the beer will at first be brewed not in the Czech Republic at all but by a brewery eight kilometres across the border in Germany. But the brewers say it will use local water and the prices will be more Czech than German. Limited brewing facilities for the Hradní beer in the centre of Cheb are still being prepared.