Is strong crown influencing tourism in the Czech Republic?
The Czech currency has reached record levels over the past few weeks, which not only poses problems to Czech exporters, but it also means that everything is more expensive for foreign tourists arriving in the Czech Republic on holiday. So is the strong crown putting off foreign tourists?
"The crown started to strengthen in May, but paradoxically it seems that this May more tourists came to Prague than at the same time last year. June and July, when expressed in numbers, showed a slight decrease in the number of foreign tourists but it's so small that it cannot change the statistics substantially, and it does not prove that it's a reaction to the strong Czech crown either. But one of the reasons for the more or less steady number of tourists might also be the fact that many come in organized groups and their visits were organised several months ago."
Tereza Urbankova heads the Public Relations department at the Prague Hilton hotel. She says there are other reasons for fewer guests staying at her hotel:
"I think the strong crown may reflect partially, because there are other aspects that influence the number of tourists and foreign visitors coming to Prague. There was the incident on September 11th, that's one thing, so we still have to somehow fight against that, and also I would say partially the crown being stronger affects that."
Prices in Hilton hotels around the world differ, what are the prices in Prague's Hilton?
"Well, it's difficult to say because each hotel is actually very different. It depends on the clientele, it depends on the season, and basically Prague is not only an attractive destination but it's definitely a cheaper one for foreigners although the crown is stronger. So our prices are definitely better than the prices of Hiltons in other West European cities."
Do people for instance eat in the hotel or use the fit centre - spend money otherwise for just accommodations?
"It depends on the clientele. Tourists use the fitness centre for example, tourists eat here from time to time, but it's not every day, because the want to discover Prague and they want to see other things as well. In terms of conferences, because we are mainly a meeting and conference hotel, it's a different story because then people spend here all day from morning to evening, using restaurants and other facilities that we provide."