European countries one by one are declaring the end of the Covid-19 pandemic and lifting internal regulations as well as travel restrictions to the joy of tourism professionals in the industry.
The Czech Republic, a small yet very popular country in the middle of Europe, is also among the countries which have chosen a more liberal approach towards the pandemic, as numbers of infections continue to fall.
All Travel Restrictions Lifted
As of April 9, the country no longer requires a vaccination certificate or pre-flight testing to cross its borders. In other words, entry is now not subject to any special epidemiological conditions.
At the same time, internal restrictions are also virtually non-existent. There are no capacity regulations in museums or restaurants, while masks are no longer mandatory in closed spaces as well as public transport.
Tourism Showing Signs of Recovery
According to economist Petr Dufek, sales in services have remained above the average of 2019 for the second month in a row. Tourism-related services contributed to a small month-on-month growth in March.
Although hotels are still only at 55 % of the profits achieved in 2019, it must be noted that the Omicron variant only affected the sector marginally.
Restaurants are also experiencing a comeback of clients and unlike hotels, this sector is “only” 24 % below its 2019 levels.
Hotel Occupancy below Expectations
However, despite the cancellation of travel restrictions and the signs of recovery, the overall picture still seems to be below expectations for many in the industry.
This is also a result of the war in Ukraine as well as high inflation. Increases in prices have affected a total of 68 % of hotels. Almost a third of hotels have not yet increased their prices but will have to take this step by the end of May at the latest, according to experts.
During the Easter holidays, half of the hoteliers expect to fill their capacity at more than 80 %. Less than a third will be occupied by 50 to 80 %. In April, however, Easter is the only exception.
“The spring season does not start positively for hoteliers, except for the four days during Easter, when it will be busy almost everywhere. However, the average occupancy of hotels in April will not exceed 50 %,” said Vaclav Starek, President of the Association of Hotels and Restaurants (AHR).