Prague's economic pain worsens as pandemic spreads
The rapidly rising number of cases of coronavirus in the Czech Republic is extinguishing the mild progress made by Prague hotels during the summer. As of the beginning of September, the occupancy levels for hotels in the capital fell to 80 percent below their levels in 2019, while revenues were down 80 percent. But now Germans and Slovaks who travel to Czechia now need a Covid-19 test in order to return. This means that the figures could get even worse. "In normal conditions, Germans are the biggest group of foreign tourists. In recent months they actually made up as much as 40 percent of all tourists in Prague," says Michal Chour, chairman of The Center is Alive association and director of the Alcron hotel. "At the moment, we're getting close to a year-on-year collapse in revenues of 90 percent." In 2019, 2 million tourists came from Germany, with half of them travelling to Prague and making up 11 percent of all hotel guests. While in Prague, they spent an estimated CZK 3.5 billion. "The negative impact of the crisis on the entire economy is enormous, it's far more than just the damage to hotel operators," says David Mazacek, director of the Institute of Strategic Investments of the Faculty of Financing and Accounting. Foreign tourists are responsible for around 88 percent of all earnings in Prague.