Increase in holiday tourism expected

Experts expect a busy December in Prague for shopping and sightseeing

The end of the year always sees a surge in tourism. Some 650,000 people are expected to visit Prague in December, and from that, an estimated 280,000 will come to the capital for Christmas and New Year’s Eve.

Another 80,000 visitors are expected for day trips for Christmas shopping and the famed holiday markets.

“This December, and especially during the Christmas and New Year celebrations, we expect Prague to defend its record numbers from last year. We do not count on a significant increase in total attendance, but given the ever-increasing number of visitors from the Czech Republic we expect their number to rise by 10 percent in December compared to last year,” Prague City Tourism spokesman Barbora Hrubá said in a press release.

The Christmas markets are already open in Old Town Square, Wenceslas Square and other locations, and these are among the main attractions for tourists. They are routinely ranked among the best in Europe.

During the year, the largest number of visitors are from other European countries are French, Italians, Austrians, Slovaks, British and Russians. In December the mix changes a bit. Germans, Russians and British will predominate, and the most numerous group from non-European visitors will be from the United States.

This year Prague saw a surprisingly large increase in the number of visitors from Ukraine, reaching a full 57.9 percent more than last year in the third quarter, and this trend is expected to last at least to the end of the year, according to Prague City Tourism.

From January to September 2018, Prague has visited 5,850,000 tourists according to the Czech Statistical Office (ČSÚ), 2.4 percent more than in the same period of the previous year. Domestic visitors are still growing, as well as the numbers of Ukrainians, Chinese, Indians, and Taiwanese.

In the first nine months of the year, just under 5 million visitors came to Prague from abroad, or 1 percent more than in 2017. Domestic visitors accounted for 870,000, a year-on-year increase of 11 percent.

Guests in Prague in the first nine months spent a total of 13,600,000 nights, or 0.8 percent more than in the same time of the previous year. The average overnight stay reached 2.3 nights. Visitors from Russia, Israel, Italy, and Spain remained the longest in Prague.

Prague had a total of 7,652,865 tourists in 2017, including 6.6 million foreigners. Overall, that was a 7.4 percent increase over the previous year.

Prague in March was ranked as the seventh-best place in the world to visit by the travel website Tripadvisor, based on user reviews.

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