PRAGUE - IDEAL PLACE FOR CONGRESS TOURISM
Prague attracts since 1990 enormous numbers of tourists from all over the
world, in particular as an ideal holiday place connected with learning historic
monuments or with active recreation in nature. With the end of the second millennium,
the capital of the Czech Republic endeavours to become one of the foremost European
towns of congress tourism. Its location in the very heart of the continent,
rich architecture and cultural life have already earlier turned it into a sought-after
tourism target. The current development of hotel and conference entities makes
it a suitable congress destination for the third millennium.
Exactly 10 years ago, the gates were opened to organisers of congresses and
other events. Despite the lack of quality infrastructure, the capital became
in the nineties the venue of international events and the share in the congress
market continuously increases. The climax of the striving to achieve success
in this area was the Annual Meeting of the World Bank and the International
Monetary Fund held in September 2000.
This meeting for over 15,000 experts attending this world event was held in
the newly streamlined Congress Centre Prague, extended by new buildings in the
neighbourhood of the original centre. By its capacity of 10 000 places, the
Congress Centre became the largest centre of its kind in Prague. part of it
will be converted into a hotel with 251 rooms.
Some of the WB/IMF events were held in the Industrial Palace in the Prague Exhibition
Ground. This beautiful building in the Art Nouveau style accommodates in excess
of 5,000 persons. With a view to the future industrial fairs, an extensive exhibition
centre is being built in the northern-western part of the town. The construction
of 15 pavilions fitted with the modern telecommunications technology is divided
into several stages, the last of which should be implemented by 2006.
In the hotel industry also, there is a huge increase of activities. In June
1999 operations were started of a five-stars the Marriott Hotel in the vicinity
of the Renaissance Hotel.
The location in the downtown area, the proximity of historic monuments of Old
Town (Staré Mesto) furnishings of the highest category, the total capacity
of more than 600 rooms and conference facilities having the area of 1,700 square
m, makes both above-mentioned hotels one of the top in the commercial and congress
areas of the market. Luxurious accommodation and meeting rooms are offered by
the SAS Radisson hotel, which is located in the neighbourhood of Wenceslas square
(Vaclavske namesti). The building is in the Art Nouveau Style of 1930 and it
has been newly overhauled, streamlined and then opened in 1998. The opening
of the Four Seasons hotel on a grand address on the embankment next to the historic
Charles bridge is planned for 2001.
The Prague Ruzyne airport is, after an extensive overhaul a modern airport,
with many domestic and international lines.
Apart from the modern buildings such as the Congress Centre or the Hilton Hotel,
Prague can offer a multitude of historic premises and places that are suitable
for convening different meetings, conferences, congresses and other events.
The Municipal House (Obecni dum), built and beautifully refurbished in the Art
Nouveau style has 5 concert, conference and exhibition halls for over 700 persons.
Also the Prague Castle (Prazsky hrad), the historic seat of Czech rulers, offers
premises for festive occasions . Many palaces all over Prague are used for banquets,
concerts, conferences and the like.
A plethora of buildings in Prague and throughout the Czech Republic, which
can be used in a similar manner, is a condition incomparably better than the
situation obtaining in other European towns. All these sites are well accessible
from the capital in terms of transport facilities. So one can say that in this
respect Prague and the Czech Republic is ready to satisfy the expectations of
the congress destination of choice in the third millennium.