Czechs shortened their stays, but foreigners returned

This summer, foreign guests have been coming to the U Kukačků guesthouse in Lipno as they were used to in the years before the COVID pandemic. On the other hand, the stays of Czech clients were shorter.

“Germans, Dutch, and Austrians mainly visit us. Some of the older ones used to come here 25 years ago to camp, but now they don’t want to sleep in a tent and prefer to be comfortable. They stay for a week or even a fortnight,” Lenka Tóthová, the guesthouse owner, said.

The Czechs are staying for a much shorter period this year. “They come for three or four days. It’s logical; they want to enjoy themselves without spending a fortune,” Tóthová added. According to her, domestic tourists often arrived on Wednesdays or Thursdays, and at the beginning of the week, the guesthouse was half empty again.

Data from the Czech Statistical Office (CSO) confirmed her experience on Wednesday. The number of overnight stays by foreigners in hotels, guesthouses, and campsites almost doubled in the third quarter of this year compared to last year.

However, the number of nights spent by domestic guests fell by 10.5 percent year-on-year. Domestic tourism also decreased by the tenth year on year. This is because Czechs traveled abroad more after the relaxation of COVID restrictions than last summer, which is also evidenced by airline sales, which increased significantly.

Fewer tourists from Asia

The Czech Republic hosted 7.3 million guests in Q3, up 11 percent year-on-year. Of these, 4.8 million were domestic. Foreigners arrived twice as many as a year ago, but they have not yet reached pre-pandemic levels. Compared to pre-covid times, there are significantly fewer tourists from Asia, especially from China and South Korea.

“Compared to the pre-covid summer season in 2019, this year’s number of Czechs was 14 percent higher. However, there is still a lack of foreign guests, who were accommodated by a quarter less than three years ago,” confirmed Pavel Vančura from the Czech Statistical Office.

“Compared to the situation before the pandemic, it appears that Czechs now find holidays in the Czech Republic more attractive and often prefer them to foreign holidays,” commented BHS analyst Štěpán Křeček. The fact that some domestic hotels, especially in big cities, have lowered their prices because of the pandemic has also contributed to this.

The capital was the only place where more foreigners than Czechs stayed in the summer. On the other hand, the Czechs did not visit Prague as much as last year, and in the third quarter, they mostly visited the South Moravian and South Bohemian regions. Among foreigners, Germans, Slovaks, Poles, and Americans dominated.

Sales of services in the third quarter rose by 6.9 percent year-on-year. This is the sixth consecutive quarter of growth. All major service sectors except catering recorded an increase in sales. These decreased by 10.8 percent compared to last year, while accommodations rose by 8.8 percent.

Travel agencies and bureaus even posted a 95.6 percent increase. Similarly, revenue in air transportation increased by 80.9 percent.