Prague expecting influx of fans for Ice Hockey World Championship

The 2024 Ice Hockey World Championships are set to commence on May 10th in Prague and Ostrava. The tournament, which includes 16 teams, attracts fans from all over the world to the hosting country. So how many hockey fans are expected to descend on Prague for the games? I put the question to Barbora Scherf, spokeswoman for Prague City Tourism.

Barbora Scherf | Photo: Anaïs Chesnel,  Radio Prague International

“Data from May 2023 shows that around 650,000 tourists came to Prague that month. Based on this data, and considering the fact that the World Championship is taking place this year in Prague and Ostrava, we expect that around 725,000 people will come to Prague in May 2024. So we expect a 10 percent increase in connection with the championship.”

Are you hearing from accommodations in the city that things are selling out?

“The tourist season started in the beginning of April, and with the hockey tournament, we definitely see that hotels are already booked up. People working in tourist infrastructure in Prague know that this is a very prestigious tournament, and everyone wants to be prepared.”

I don’t want to generalize, but there is often a concern over “hooligan” behaviour when major sporting events take place in Prague. Is there any concern over this for the World Championships? And are the authorities ready to deal with this?

“Over the last three years, Prague City Tourism has been working on improving the image of Prague as a ‘primo’ European destination. Of course, we understand that the group coming for the hockey tournament in May is not exactly the target group we want to see in Prague. But we do understand that this is a very prestigious event, and we will be very happy to welcome these people. We hope that they will stay longer, and enjoy Prague.”