Why Prague?

By Michaela Smetanova, Senior Association Meetings Manager, Prague Convention Bureau.

Many countries have been heavily affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. How is Prague currently dealing with this crisis?

Fortunately the epidemiologic situation in the Czech Republic has never become severe (knock on wood), and the spread of the virus has been kept under control by timely implementation of physical distancing measures, mandatory wearing of facemasks in places with a high concentration of people, extensive testing and tracking of infected persons. Now we are almost back to “normal” everyday life: all gastronomic and accommodation facilities, shops, cultural institutions and monuments are open and holding of events up to 1.000 pax is allowed under increased hygiene measures. Visitors from most European countries can enter the Czech Republic with no restrictions, but when traveling from some higher-risk countries, it is still necessary to provide a negative test upon arrival.

The MICE industry is also struggling during these difficult times. How do you think this will change our industry, and what measures can be taken, in your opinion?

The pandemic has not only forcibly stopped the whole industry, it has also made many organizations re-evaluate their need for business travel, which is not something that would simply just go away when the restrictions are lifted. It is now our job to work together and come up with long-term sustainable solutions that will ensure the safety of participants and rebuild confidence in travel. The Czech meetings industry has for example introduced the NOCOVID initiative that presents a set of rules which, in addition to defining responsible company behaviour, also fully respect common sense and the environment.

Did you know, that…?

…Prague has one of the best public transportation systems in the world and the congress delegates can use it for free? In the Arcadis Sustainable Cities Mobility Index, the public transportation system in Prague has been ranked as the fifth best in the world. Moreover, the City provides free passes to all association events with more than 500 delegates.

…the word Robot comes from the Czech language and was first used in a 1920 play R.U.R. (Rossum's Universal Robots) by the Czech writer, Karel Čapek? And to this day, the Czech Republic is one of the world's leaders in robotics and informatics, with the European Center of Excellence for Industrial Robotics and Artificial Intelligence established at the Czech Institute of Informatics, Robotics and Cybernetics in Prague.

…Prague has received awards as the Greenest city by the percentage of green space? But we’re not stopping there: the City Council has committed to planting one million new trees between 2018 and 2022.

Where to meet?

Prague ranks among the TOP 10 most popular meeting destinations in the world with two high-capacity congress centres to host your meeting:

·         The Prague Congress Centre, which can host meetings for more than 9,000 delegates, boasts of one of the best urban views in the world.

·         The brand-new O2 universum, opened in 2019, that together with O2 arena accommodates up to 28,000 delegates.

For smaller and mid-sized conferences, the multipurpose CUBEX Centre with interiors inspired by Czech Cubist architecture is the place to go.

Where to stay?

Prague is famous for its hospitality and excellent infrastructure that offers world-class services at a reasonable cost. Local hotels can accommodate over 93,000 people in more than 42,000 rooms. The total number of hotels is 817, out of which 49 are 5-star, 229 are 4-star and 215 3-star.

15 large conference hotels, such as Hilton Prague (791 rooms), Clarion Congress Hotel Prague (559 rooms), Marriott Prague (416 rooms) or Vienna House Diplomat Hotel Prague (400 rooms) have been fully renovated in the last two years.

How to get there?

Prague's location in the heart of Europe makes the city easily accessible to travellers from almost every country. The Václav Havel Airport Prague is one of the busiest airports in Central Europe and before the COVID-19 pandemic, it served almost 70 airlines connecting Prague directly to more than 160 destinations all over the world. Also, Prague has three international railway stations and a bus station, all connected to the metro.

Do you offer any special services/assistance for associations?

Our staff in cooperation with leading industry members offers free of charge support and consultancy to ensure your event will run smoothly and the delegates receive the best experience possible. This includes not only the general advisory, supplier recommendation and site inspection arrangements (face to face or virtual), but also professional consultancy, marketing support and assistance in obtaining financial subvention for your event.

Personal recommendation/insider tips?

The Czech Republic is known as a beer paradise (and yes, our Pilsner beer is the best in the world) but the wine-growing traditions and advantageous geography make Prague also one of the top cities for wine lovers. In food and wine, Prague offers tremendous value for money. Over recent years many new businesses have opened up in Prague, bringing in a whole spectrum of gastronomic trends from elegant fine dining restaurants to relaxed, contemporary wine bars. My personal favourite spots are Vinice Grébovka (‘The Grébovka Vineyard’), Vinograf Senovážné náměstí or Mlýnec Restaurant. Dozens of wine related events are also held in Prague each year, such as Prague Wine Week, Vinobraní (‘wine harvest’) or Vintage Festivals.

Whom to contact?

For more information, please contact the Prague Convention Bureau team at info@pragueconvention.cz / tel. +420 224 235 159 or ask Michaela directly at michaela.smetanova@pragueconvention.cz.