The representatives of the Czech Republic and Prague, as many other representatives of the European and non-European countries around the world, deeply condemn the Russian invasion of the sovereign neighbouring country of Ukraine.
At the same time, the Czech Republic, and Prague as one of the key Czech cities dealing with the arrival of refugees, are expressing solidarity to those who lost their home or even relatives due to this armed conflict, providing support and help.
“As the current situation has touched many aspects of our daily life, we at the Prague Convention Bureau, the official representative of the City of Prague in the field of meetings industry, would like to comment on the current development in Prague in this regard and answer many questions that can possibly arise with this unprecedented situation,” says Roman Muška, Managing Director at the Prague Convention Bureau.
State of emergency declared with no effect to locals or travelers
Until now, the Czech Republic welcomed around 200 000 refugees (out of nearly 3 million refugees in total based on UN report), especially mothers with small children. To be able to handle efficiently the waves of new arrivals, the Czech Government declared a state of emergency from March 4 for 30 days which could later be extended. The state of emergency represents no effect to the local inhabitants, leisure, or business travelers.
Prague venues available for events
Two largest cities in the Czech Republic – Prague and Brno, are serving as the main point of the first contact in the country. The City of Prague established an Assistance Centre at the Prague Congress Centre that has suitable conditions for welcoming larger amount of people. Nevertheless, the event operation of the Prague Congress Centre is not completely affected. The Congress Centre still welcomes local as well as international events in other parts of the venue, that are separate from the Assistance Centre.
“We believe that we are able to meet not only the humanitarian but also our business needs. One way to support us and the rest of the Czech Republic, as well as Europe, is to go through with planned events,“ says Lenka Žlebková, CEO of the Prague Congress Centre.
“We are very grateful to the organizers of the World Environmental Education Congress, who saw this as an opportunity, and they are right now in the PCC running their congress while the refugee centre is in full operation. It is very unfortunate that other two international congresses preferred to move them into online space, even though they were also offered another venue in Prague.”
“Therefore, we are in close contact with our clients to discuss all aspects of their events to see if they would be affected and how we can solve it. Our building has a great disposition for holding various events at the same time and our team is experienced in using our best features for difficult situations,” she adds.
Simultaneously, other two large Prague congress centres are currently able to welcome events in a full scale. Together with smaller venues, Prague can provide a total space for more than 180,000 participants at the same time.
Accommodation capacity of Prague
Part of the Ukrainian refugees found asylum with their relatives or friends living in the Czech Republic already. Those refugees with no such option, have been accommodated at the places specially created for this purpose or with the Czech families. Czech hoteliers swiftly reacted to this situation as well and offered part of their accommodation capacities, mainly till the end of March 2022.
“Prague has not lost neither its reputation as a safe destination nor the scope and quality of services provided. Hotels are ready to meet all the expectations of tourists and participants of MICE events and therefore reaffirm the position of the capital city among the leading MICE destinations,” says Václav Stárek, president of The Czech Association of Hotels and Restaurants.
Prague is still able to accommodate even the largest and most demanding events and their participants. In total, Prague offers more than 44,500 rooms (102 000+ beds) in 910 hotels of various categories.
“As destination representatives we are proud of all the immediate support provided by many meeting industry players. At the same time, we are aware that it is necessary to keep the business meetings going to enable the continuity of the support provided from the first days even though last two years were very challenging for the meeting industry,” adds Roman Muška.
Traveling to Prague and the Czech Republic
Similarly to other countries, the Czech Republic completely closed its airspace to air carriers from Russia with effect from Sunday, February 27, 2022, midnight. Due to the state of war declared in Ukraine, the civil airspace has been closed, and air traffic from and to Ukraine has been interrupted.
COVID-19 restrictions lifted
The Czech Republic and Prague closely watch the COVID-19 development in regards to the refugees coming to the destinations. Based on the latest numbers, Czech Republic lifted all the restrictions except the obligation of wearing face masks (FFP2 or similar) in the public transportation and at the facilities providing medical or social services from March 14 on.
Photo credit: Ales Otava Photography