“Czech Tourism has helped to attract more than 100 million visitors to the Czech Republic over the 20 years of the organisation’s existence to April 2013,” Katarina Hobbs, Director UK & Ireland, told travel agents and media at a dinner hosted by representatives of the Czech Republic’s tourism industry at the Shelbourne Hotel on Tuesday 24th September.
The theme of Czech Tourism’s new logo, ‘Czech Republic: Land of Stories’, will feature strongly in 2014 and, along with the new website stories.czechtourism.com, will highlight the wide range of ‘stories’ that the country offers, including cultural and UNESCO heritage, Kafka and Freud, active holidays, spa and wellness destinations, and medical tourism.
Petr Kubera, Deputy Head of Mission, Czech Republic Embassy in Ireland, said: “For Ambassador Dr Tomas Kafka and I, this is a special event and I would like to emphasise that we are here to help with any travel and tourism queries that you may have.” He also conveyed the Ambassador’s message of apology, which explained that he was in Prague for eye surgery – and that if anyone needed eye surgery he could highly recommend the Czech Republic!
Katerina Pavlitova, Director of Marketing, PragueWelcome.com, revealed that the organisation’s name would soon change to Prague City Tourism – and encouraged everyone to visit the two websites, www.praguewelcome.com and www.autumninprague.com. Katerina also highlighted the many similarities between Dublin and Prague, going on to describe her native city as beautiful, intimate and easily navigable, romantic, a city for all seasons (“including winter months – and not just for Christmas markets”), and good value (“especially in low season”).
Markéta Janatová, Area Director of Sales & Marketing – Czech Republic, Barceló Hotels & Resorts, highlighted the company’s 4-star hotels in the Czech Republic – the Barceló Praha Five, Barceló Praha and Barceló Old Town Praha in Prague, and the Barceló Brno Palace in Brno. Barceló is a third-generation family-run hotel group originating in Spain that currently has over 140 hotels in 17 countries worldwide. “One of our service priorities is to provide friendliness and excitement,” said Markéta.
Stanislav Zeman, Director of Aviation Business and Marketing, Prague Airport, pointed out that Prague continues to be the fifth most popular city destination in the world, with an all-time record of 7.1 million visitors in 2012, a 6.8% increase on the previous year. A €4 million, three-year project that commenced in January 2012 is transforming Prague Airport, which now offers unlimited free wi-fi and boarding status updates to passengers via smartphone or SMS, as well as signage in four languages – English, Czech, Russian and Korean.
Two lucky prize draws were held, one for media and one for trade, with each winner receiving flights to Prague for two with Aer Lingus (which operates 2,500 seats weekly and is 11 years on the route), two nights in a Barceló hotel, entrance to top attractions, and VIP check-in at Prague Airport.
Mimi Murray of the Gazette Group won the media prize and – after Alan Sparling and Sinead Reilly had both put the prize back in the game – John McKibbin of Travel Cube won the trade prize (and, curiously, Alan, Sinead and John were sitting beside each other!).