How is Prague coming to life? The historic center is full mainly on weekends, foreigners are still missing Home
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“We used to have almost no Czechs here before, it was a maximum of one percent. Now 70 percent of our clients are from the Czech Republic, “said Renata, the main receptionist at the Betlem Club hotel on Old Town’s Bethlehem Square. “At first it looked like this year it would be very weak. In the end, however, it is slightly better than last summer. During the week, we occupy about a fifth, on weekends even 80 percent of the total capacity of the hotel, “he says.
The predominance of guests from the Czech Republic was also confirmed by the Hotel U Tří pštrosů, which is situated directly at the foot of Charles Bridge on the banks of the Lesser Town. “A lot of Czech families with children drive. People are most attracted to the location of our hotel, on weekends we have about 90 percent obsolescence, during the week about 50 to 60 percent. We didn’t expect that at all, “confided the local receptionist Jiří.
On average, about half the occupancy is evidenced by the five-star Grand Hotel Bohemia, which is located near the Powder Gate, according to the local manager.
It’s too late for the deserted Charles Bridge
If you want to experience a metropolis without tourists, you are about two weeks late. It is now quite busy around Wenceslas Square, people also come again to admire the historical gems on Old Town Square, from where it flows through narrow streets to Charles Bridge and Prague Castle – which covid has practically completely depopulated for a whole month. From time to time, someone also goes to reopened shops with “purely Czech” souvenirs, where there are now about a fifth discounts. According to stallholders, there is also quite interest in sweet trdelník with ice cream. However, the past is crowds and crowds as well as crowds of tourists with a guide. The atmosphere of the historic core has stabilized on the golden mean between the pre-ideal crowded streets and the pandemic desert.
Due to covid restrictions and a lack of air connections, tourists from Asia, the United States and Russia have not yet returned to the heart of Europe. Czech is sometimes interspersed with a maximum of German, Polish, Slovak or Italian.
“Sometimes a stranger arrives, but nothing big. After all, it’s just about Europeans. The first American woman stayed with us on Monday, we take that as a good sign, “says Renata from the Betlem Club Hotel. “Apart from the Czechs, there are also Poles and Slovaks. The Germans rarely come. We will see how it will be in the autumn, “says receptionist Jiří from the U Tří pštrosů hotel.
Prices had to go down
The lack of foreign tourists forced entrepreneurs in the center of Prague to substantially reduce prices last year. However, even this year, according to their words, they cannot afford more expensive. “We left the prices the same as last year, but compared to the period before the pandemic, we are on about two thirds of the original ones,” said Jiří.
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For example, in the Betlem Club hotel, a night in a double room is currently worth about a thousand crowns, before the covid it was over two thousand. “Rooms are cheaper, but due to higher food prices, we have increased the prices of breakfast, lunch and dinner,” says the local receptionist.
The prices in the luxurious Grand Hotel Bohemia are also at two thirds. “Prices have been reduced by almost all hotels in the area, some even by half,” said the local manager, adding that if they did not do so, it would be reflected in a lack of guests due to strong competition.
The local restaurants also did not return at the level of pre-holiday prices, yet they were slightly more expensive than last year. You can eat there for about 200 crowns, beer costs 60 or 70 crowns.
Free to the gallery or zoo
Even in June, when the tourist season was already in full swing elsewhere, it still seemed in Prague that people prefer not to use the warm weather for a trip to nature or to the water. However, it was also in the interest of the municipality to support tourism, which in cooperation with Prague City Tourism launched a program called In Prague at Home. He proved himself last year.
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“We want to support both hotels and restaurants, as well as Prague’s monuments and cultural institutions in their restart and to attract as many tourists as possible to Prague during the summer holidays,” said František Cipro, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Prague City Tourism.
“The In Prague at Home program is trying to attract over 70,000 visitors to Prague during last summer’s season and at least partially mitigate the drastic effects of the coronavirus crisis. This year, we have set aside 60 million crowns to support tourism, ”consistently Councilor for Culture and Tourism Hana Třeštíková.
As part of the program, domestic and foreign tourists have free admission to some museums, monuments, galleries or the zoo – provided that they stay in one of several hundred Prague hotels that participate in the program.