Czech Republic in bid for Gulf tourists

Minister for Regional Development Pavel Nemec.

Nestled between Poland, Slovakia, Austria and Germany, the Czech Republic is a country waiting to be discovered by tourists from the Gulf region. Even though it plays host to a growing number of international tourists every year, who keep returning again and again to marvel at its rich historical and architectural heritage which stretches back over 1,000 years, visitors from the Middle East are only just waking up to its many splendours.

Towards this end, a high-powered delegation from the Czech Republic headed by Pavel Nemec, Minister for Regional Development, flew down to Dubai during the Arabian Travel Market (ATM) to educate people about this beautiful country and promote it as a tourist destination. "The Gulf region is very well-known to tourists from our part of the world and we will be very pleased to welcome more tourists from the Gulf," he said. "Although the number of Arab and expatriate tourists from the Gulf is steadily increasing - in fact, it has doubled over the last two years - we are keen to promote our country more aggressively in the Middle East." Nemec went on to stress that his presence was proof enough of the importance the Czech Republic is placing on this region and, accordingly, there are a number of tempting promotions and deals have been lined up for traveller from the Middle East besides the fact that there are more direct flights to the Czech Republic.

"The spa facilities that we offer is one of the major attractions for Arab tourists," he explains. "Not just for its great medicinal value since our

spas are located next to natural resources, but also because we offer an ideal surround to unwind and relax. It's a great way to spend your holidays away from the hustle and bustle."

Nemec added that besides the spas the Czech Republic's other USP are its castles. "I doubt if there is any other country in Europe which is so

steeped in culture and has so many and castles in such a small place," he observed. "From the tourist's point, all our castles are in good condition and well-maintained."

Pleasant weather (certain regions even experience occasional snowfall), a wide variety of accommodations (from cheap motels to deluxe five-star hotels) and year-round cultural activities (art exhibitions, film festivals, etc.) are some of the other reasons why tourists fall in love with the Czech Republic.

Even though tourism in the Czech Republic is largely focused on the capital Prague, which has through the centuries acquired an unrivalled richness of architectural treasures, the rest of the country is not without its fair share of architectural gems including several fascinating castles, great museums, galleries and churches and historical monuments of different styles.

With hills, highlands and mountains covering most of the territory, the country is also ideal for skiing, mountain biking and hill-walking. Sport is very popular in the Czech Republic which is famous for its ice hockey and tennis champions.

And while it at, no account of the Czech Republic can be complete without a mention of its musical heritage. It has always been known for its musicians, and there are all types of concerts and music festivals to choose from around the year. Like an old Czech saying goes: "If you are a Czech, you must be a musician."

No wonder then those who return from the Czech Republic can't stop singing its praises.