As the economic uncertainty brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic continues, Czech tourists choose to save money by opting for domestic travel. According to operators of popular summer destinations, Czechs are booking their trips at the last minute, often for shorter periods, and carefully selecting experiences for which they are willing to spend money.
This trend is evident even in heavily visited tourist destinations such as Beskydy and Lipensko, where operators offer discounted packages to entice clients. “People are more hesitant, and the price is starting to become important for many,” said Martina Žáčková, spokesperson for the Valachy resort in Velké Karlovice.
Operators also see an increase in last-minute bookings and shorter reservation lead times. “We don’t remember a time in the last fifteen years when the time between reservation and departure was this short,” added Žáčková.
Similarly, Lipno nad Vltavou offers discounted rates for its famous attractions, such as the Stezka korunami stromů and Království lesa. “We don’t have exact numbers, but attendance is lower than before the pandemic. Of course, this may also reflect the economic situation we are trying to respond to,” said Olga Kneiflová, spokesperson for Lipno Services.
Families also try to save money on accommodations by improvising and sharing spaces. “It happens that two or three families rent one apartment and then go on hiking and biking trips. They try not to spend too much, and we end up with guests who order the most luxurious things and don’t care about the price. Compared to previous years, we’re missing that middle ground,” said Jiří Falout, who rents apartments near the Lipno water reservoir.
The change in demand is also evident in info centers. “Instead of buying expensive stuffed animals like they used to, parents are choosing cheaper pendants for their children,” noted Falout.
According to Jiří Mánek, chairman of the Lipenska Tourist Association, there has been a decrease in middle-income Czech families who typically spend their vacations in Lipno. “If they come, they prefer to buy food in the store because restaurants are expensive for them. However, restaurateurs must respond to the increased traffic, and if someone can offer a schnitzel with a side dish for less than two hundred crowns, it’s suspicious in the current environment,” he added.
As Czechs prioritize cost-saving measures, domestic tourism will likely remain popular in the coming months. However, it remains to be seen how the tourism industry will adapt to these changing trends and whether they will be able to weather the economic uncertainty brought on by the pandemic.