Czech Republic's Tourism Industry

The Czech Republic is one of Europe's most-visited tourist destinations, drawing in some 13 million travellers every year. Of the tourists, most of them are from Germany, Russia and the United States, although a significant percentage of them hail from Britain as well. The Czech tourism industry is worth approximately €2 billion (£1.7 billion) of the country's annual GDP and is a very important part of the nation's economy.

History and Background

The Czech people, situated for thousands of years in the mountainous river-valleys of Central Europe, are geographically dominated by great mountains on the north, great rivers such as the Danube, the Morva and the Vltava to the south and rugged forests and farmlands throughout the country. The hilly, forested country has a rich history that is documented for over a thousand years, with archaeological and pre-historical sites being abundant. A tourist interested in history has a great selection of sites to choose from in the Czech Republic - Celtic, Roman, Gothic, Marcomanni, Germanic and Czech castles, fortresses, towns, ruins and other cultural and architectural relics from past eras dominate the landscape.

Most Popular Destinations in the Czech Republic

Of the most popular destinations, the capital Prague is the most important. It is famous for its historical sites, such as the Tyn Church, the Charles Bridge, Prague Castle, the Prague Astronomical Clock and the Roman ruins of Rudolfinum. During the Middle Ages, Prague was a very important cultural capital of Europe. Major developments in science and technology in minting, metal-working, astronomy, clocks, the arts, physics and theology took place in Prague's many schools, workshops and universities. Scholars from all over Europe visited Prague in the Renaissance. With the country's accession to EU membership in 2004, it is once more an economic, scientific and cultural crossroads at the heart of Europe.

The Czech Night-life

As the Czech Republic has improved economically since the fall of the Soviet Union and their accession to the EEC, it has become a very cheap and extremely popular party destination for young people all over Europe. Nightclubs and pubs across the capital and other major cities are frequently open all night or very late. Prague and other cities across the Czech Republic draw in young people who are interested in raves, music festivals, parades and other cultural events.

Another historic and contemporary feature of the Czech night-life is their cheeky, but well-known attitude towards drinking and pubs. In many places, these watering holes are often located side-by-side for miles in every direction and a popular game amongst young people and their tourist compatriots from other countries is to "drink and walk" from pub to pub and see how many miles can be conquered before blacking out! This tradition is at least several hundred years old and goes back to Medieval and Renaissance students' pastimes when not studying.

Medical and Dental Tourism

The sumptuous capital of the Czech Republic has become a popular destination for so called medical tourism. Although medical holidays comprise a wide range of treatments and procedures, by far the most common are cosmetic surgery and cosmetic dentistry. A combination of low prices and high standards, alongside the ease of travel within the EU, makes Praque a top choice for medical procedures and cosmetic treatments by those from countries where such treatments would easily cost 3 or 4 times as much.

Resorts, Natural Attractions and Sports

The Czech Republic is an important resort and sporting destination at the heart of Europe. With high, snow-covered mountains, most of the Czech winter-tourism industry is located on an unbroken chain of resorts that stretch from the north-western to the north-eastern borders of the country. The nation also boasts some of the lowest prices for skiing trips in the EU, with services available at 4 or 5-star levels. For this reason, autumn and winter are extremely popular with tourists looking to save money from all over Europe. Both cross-country skiing and downhill skiing is very popular as are many other winter sports such as ice-skating, snowboarding and mountaineering. The Czech Republic is also world-famous for its contribution to and love of the sport of ice-hockey. Many of the world's most-skilled hockey players hail from the Czech Republic.

In the spring and summer months, tourists frequent the Bohemian Paradise, the Bohemian Karst and the Sumava National Park. These sites have many trails of varying difficulties with magnificent views of the countryside. There are also many places in the mountain resorts where tourists are able to hire guides, rangers and other professionals to help them in their exploration of these Central European mountains.

Culture and Recreation

The Czech Republic is a very mountainous area located on several geothermal vents. For this reason, there are a great number of spas and resorts throughout the country which are built on hot springs, mineral springs and other volcanic features. Bohemia and Moravia (the two greatest Czech provinces) have been visited by other Europeans and locals since at least the time of the Romans, and many baths and spa resorts across the country boast Neo-Classical architecture as a result.

The Czech Republic is fast becoming one of the EU's most well-established tourist locations and with the prevalence of cheap flights and low-budget tours available from the UK, it has never been easier to visit the Central European country than today.