PRAGUE, Czech Republic — Up to 300,000 Chinese tourists may arrive in the Czech Republic this year, which would be a record number, and last year their number topped 200,000, Markéta Vogelová, the head of the Tourism Institute of the agency CzechTourism, has said.
Statistical data, released on Friday, showed that the number of Chinese guests at Czech hotels and boarding houses grew by an annual rate of 47 percent before the start of the main tourist season.
Among the top 10 foreign visitors, the Chinese ranked eighth, having been put on the list for the first time ever this year.
A total of 115,000 Chinese tourists stayed at accommodation facilities in the first six months of the year.
Compared with Q1, their number was higher than that of South Korean visitors.
A rise in Chinese visitors compensates for a drop in Russian tourist numbers.
According to Vogelová, further growth is foreseen for the autumn after the launch of direct flights between Beijing and Prague.
Chinese tourists’ spending is on the rise as well, having outpaced that of Russian tourists for the first time in March and June.
Chinese purchases at commercial establishments in H1 this year soared by 119 percent yr/yr, while purchases by Russian tourists fell by 42 percent, according to data from Global Blue that is in charge of VAT refunds to tourists outside the EU.
Chinese tourist numbers posted an annual rise of 20 percent to 211,000 last year.
China’s Hainan Airlines will fly on the Prague-Beijing route three times a week as of Sept. 23. About 60,000 passengers are expected to use the air route a year.