Owing to the impact of Covid-19 on international travel and border closures, popular weekend getaways such as Prague have reported a dramatic decline in tourism.
According to Klára Malá, the Press Officer of the organisation Prague City Tourism, only about 130 thousand tourists have visited Prague between April and June, marking this a decline by over 90 percent.
„While the Summer season looked quite promising, the removal of the Czech Republic from travel corridors and safe country lists has resulted in another decline from mid-September onwards,“ says Malá.
Popular sights such as the Old Town Town Hall have also shared their own data and statistics of tourist visits. Similarly to the overall numbers, the visits to popular sights have suffered from a major decline, with the Old Town Town Hall reporting an 80% decline from last years’ 200 thousand visitors.
Witnessing the imposition of lockdowns across most European states and lacking clarity surrounding the potential use of vaccine passports within the block, popular tourist destinations such as Prague remain stuck in painful uncertainty.
With the continued imposition of at least some restrictions since last September, there is little doubt that some of Prague’s hotels, pubs and restaurants will be soon forced to bankruptcy. According to a survey conducted by the Czech Chamber of Commerce in February, up to a fifth of all businesses at least partially restricted by lockdown have reported that they will have to declare bankruptcy in a month.
Despite this, organisations such as the Czech Confederation of Commerce and Tourism have complained that the government is increasingly offering less and less support. The government has also been criticised for its chaotic handling of some measures, such as the short-term ban on takeaway coffee, which were quickly repealed.
With no timeline for the lockdown’s easing and lagging efforts in the vaccination programme, the near future for Prague’s tourism industry remains deeply uncertain.