Czech Republic

The Czech Republic has seen relatively stable but incremental tourism growth in recent years. Tourism accounted for 2.9% of GDP in 2017, while the number of people employed in tourism totalled 238 800, or 4.5% of total employment. Travel exports accounted for 24.5% of total service exports in 2018.

The country welcomed an estimated 36.3 million international visitors in 2018, based on the Tourism Satellite Account. Of these, approximately 39.4% were overnight visitors and 60.6% same-day visitors. Some 10.6 million international tourists stayed in tourism-related accommodation in 2018, up from 10.2 million in 2017 (an increase of 4.4%).

International tourism receipts totalled EUR 6.3 billion in 2018 (up 1.6 % on 2017), while expenditure by Czech residents on outbound trips reached EUR 5.0 billion (up 3.7%), resulting in a positive balance of payments on the travel and tourism account of EUR 1.3 billion.

Residents took a total of 82.6 million domestic trips in 2018, of which 36.9% were tourism trips including an overnight stay. Domestic tourists declined 6.4% in 2018 compared to 2017, after experiencing growth of 6.1% between 2016 and 2017.

The Ministry of Regional Development is responsible for co-ordinating and setting guidelines in the field of tourism. Within the Ministry, the Tourism Department develops and implements tourism policy, and tourism-related strategies. It undertakes activities to enhance recognition of tourism as an important sector of the national economy and strengthen international co-operation. The Ministry is also responsible for preparing relevant legislation, as well as monitoring and collecting tourism statistics, developing tourism in the regions, and supporting the quality and structure of tourism services.

The Czech National Tourist Board, CzechTourism, is charged with promoting the destination in co-operation with the private sector, and delivering the marketing strategy for tourism products in both domestic and international markets. It is a grant-aided organisation supported by the Ministry whose main partners are regional tourism organisations, municipalities and the private sector.

The organisation of tourism is strongly influenced by the respective administrative systems of the 14 self-governing regions in the country. Co-operation between national and regional tourism organisations is defined by the marketing strategy of CzechTourism and follows a Balanced Scorecard approach, taking into account the perspectives of both stakeholders and residents. The Ministry oversees the negotiation, communication and feedback from the regions on both marketing activities and product development. In each region, a co-ordinator is appointed to harmonise marketing activities of the region’s tourism organisations, working closely with CzechTourism.

The National Collegium of Tourism is the consultative and advisory body of the Ministry. It facilitates co-operation between state departments and agencies, professional associations, the academic sector, unions and other stakeholders. Ad-hoc working groups are established to support the development of tourism policies and programmes.

The budget of the Tourism Department was EUR 9.1 million in 2018, a reduction of 11.3 % year-on-year. CzechTourism’s budget in 2018 was EUR 19.4 million, an increase of 14.8 % against 2017. In addition, EUR 9.7 million was allocated in 2018 to fund the National Support Programme for Tourism in Regions 2017-20.

The budget for tourism has generally been under pressure since 2014, linked with a reduction in EU funding under the operational programme for tourism over the period 2014-20. This has affected investment in tourism infrastructure, marketing activities, statistics and market research.

The overall objective of the National Tourism Policy 2014-20 is to increase the competitiveness of the tourism sector at national and regional levels, maintain its economic performance while also achieving a balance between economic, socio-cultural and environmental considerations.

Specific aims of the policy include:

  • Building sound institutional structures to effectively implement policy.

  • Enhancing the quality of tourism supply, including measures to assist the business environment.

  • Improving workforce skills.

  • Improving access to tourism markets by service providers.

  • Strengthening the role of tourism in other economic and sectoral policies.

Linked with this, the marketing strategy 2013-20 seeks to expand national product themes and better reflect the potential of regions, including through the promotion of regional products, gastronomy, eco- and agro-tourism, and wellness tourism. A new tourism strategy for the period 2021-30 is currently being prepared.

Current high-priority challenges include raising service quality, improving statistical data and developing a programme to support regional tourism development. Actions to address these challenges include:

Continued implementation of the Czech Service Quality System. This innovative system of certification is primarily aimed at tourism SMEs, to support businesses to improve the quality of their services and gain further expertise. It is undertaken by the Ministry, in co-operation with CzechTourism and different tourism stakeholders.

Implementation of a project on tourism statistics, aimed at improving and expanding statistical data concerning inbound tourism to the Czech Republic. This project includes an inbound tourism survey using mobile derived big data and consists of analysing residual data of mobile operators and thus improving data collection relating to the Czech Republic’s Tourism Satellite Account. It is undertaken by the Ministry in co-operation with the Czech Statistical Office, with results expected in early 2020.

Implementation of the National Support Programme for Tourism in Regions 2017-20, and its sub-programmes: development of basic and supporting tourism facilities, and marketing activities in tourism.

  • Tourism infrastructure sub-programme has supported a wide variety of small scale projects. These are often of a public nature contributing to making destinations more attractive and improving the quality of tourism products and services in the region. Projects include navigation and information systems relating to tourist attractions, tourist rest areas, public toilets, and infrastructure along hiking trails. Projects that complement and widen the overall offer and improve the attractiveness of destinations are prioritised, with success assessed using a broad set of measures reflecting the small scale of the projects financed and difficulties in evaluating the impact on a purely financial or usage measures, especially for public realm projects developing the supporting infrastructure.

  • Marketing activities sub-programme is targeted at destination management organisations, and has brought benefits relating to increased awareness among both domestic and international visitors, enabling marketing of the wider offer, as well as promoting specific tourism products in core destinations.

Co-financing grants for tourism facilities and marketing activities under this programme support the development of regional tourism businesses, with a maximum of 50% of project costs supported with the applicant providing the balance. A wide range of grant recipients are eligible, including regional authorities, municipalities, businesses and not-for-profit organisations, while the sub-programme to support marketing activities is targeted towards destination management organisations.

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