Czech tourism records major decline in first quarter

Foto: Mary Ann Clarke SCott, Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0

There was a marked fall-off in tourist numbers in the Czech Republic in the first quarter of 2020, according to official data released on Monday. Between the start of January and the start of April, 3.1 million tourists were recorded – a fall of 22.2 percent on the same period in 2019.

Photo: Mary Ann Clarke SCott, Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0
The number of nights paid for in the country’s hotels, guest houses and camp sites declined by 16.7 percent to 8.9 million, the Czech Statistics Office said.

Despite the overall figures, the year had actually got off to a bright start for the Czech Republic’s important tourism industry, with growth recorded in visitor numbers in both January and February.

Naturally the coronavirus crisis put paid to that. Mid-March saw the introduction of strict measures aimed at slowing the spread of the infection, including the closing of the country’s borders.

According to Czech Statistics Office travel expert Pavel Vančura, the Covid-19 pandemic caused a year-on-year fall of 67 percent in tourist numbers in the third month of the year. Overnight stays in accommodation facilities declined by 57 percent.

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While international visitor numbers declined by 26.1 percent in the first quarter mainly on the back of the events of the second half of March, domestic tourist numbers also fell, by 18.1 percent.

The number of visitors from Germany staying overnight in the Czech Republic reached 335,000 in the first three months of the year. This was 17.4 percent down on the same period last year.

Polish visitors declined by 15 percent, while around one-tenth fewer Russians arrived in this country. Visitors from Slovakia declined by one-quarter.

With Italy hard hit by the pandemic, tourists from there declined by a full 40 percent. Chinese and South Korean visitors were down by over 50 percent.

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From the beginning of the year to the end of March, Czech hotels saw an occupancy rate that was 76.9 percent of that recorded in the same period in 2019. Bookings at guest houses fell by 18.4 percent and in other accommodation facilities by one-fifth.

All regions recorded a decline in tourist interest in accommodation. The South Bohemian Region was the hardest hit, with a fall-off in guests of 29.3 percent, while hoteliers and guest house operators in experienced a decrease of almost 28%.

Prague was only slightly better off with a fall of 27.4 percent in the first quarter.