The Czech Republic – Ideal Congress and Incentive Programme Destination
The Czech Republic is an attractive destination for the organisation of congresses and incentive programmes because it provides world class services and, at the same time, it is one of the safest international destinations. Besides, it is a perfectly accessible country, thanks to five international airports and international railway connections.
Dozens of luxury hotels and conference centres meeting international quality and capacity standards can be found not only in Prague, but also in other Czech cities such as Brno, Hradec Králové, Ostrava, Plzeň, Karlovy Vary, and Teplice. The list of places suitable for conference organisation also includes venues with the capacity of over 5 000 people. One of the undoubted advantages of organising congresses in the Czech Republic is the ratio of the value of services to price. Even while retaining highly professional services, your event will remain at a relatively acceptable price level. Even more so if you decide to organise the meeting somewhere else than in the capital – prices in other regions are lower by tens of per cent, yet the quality of the provided services does not differ. In the Czech Republic, you can choose an incentive programme according to your imagination: you may experience gala costume events in castles and chateaus, an industrial exhibition in one of the old factories, a Celtic feast in a meadow or enjoy an evening as secret agent James Bond. All you need to do is – voice your wish.
New: Czech Convention Bureau
The Czech Tourism Agency’s goal is for the Czech Republic to host as many congresses and incentive events as possible. That is why, in January 2010, it established the Czech Convention Bureau whose aim is the unified promotion of the Czech Republic as a congress and incentive programme destination, both at home and abroad. The Czech Republic’s success in the field of congress and incentive tourism is supported by the fact that, in the year 2000, Prague hosted the IMF and World Bank Annual Meeting, in 2002 the NATO Summit, and in 2006 the Congress of the American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA). According to the results of a survey carried out by the International Congress and Conference Association (ICCA), 7 475 large congresses took place in the world in 2008 and Prague took 13th position with 74 congresses hosting 21 500 delegates.
During the Czech EU presidency in the first half of 2009, Prague and other towns in the regions welcomed 30 000 diplomats and officials.
You can download the Incentive Catalogue in English at www.czechtourism.com (section Congressional Tourism).
Further information about the Czech Convention Bureau is available at www.czechconvention.com.
The Czech Republic – Country of Golf
More than one hundred clubs, more than 80 courses, the season from the end of March to mid-November, indoor golf throughout the year, high-quality service and reasonable fees … These are the reasons why the Czech Republic is gaining an ever more important place on the golf map of the world.
Golfers will find in the Czech Republic a unique combination of courses set amidst natural beauty and historical monuments. Golf courses almost cover the whole map of the country and the boom in their construction continues. Investors are concentrating especially on the high standard of the courses and their amenities, including accommodation and wellness programmes.
The quality of Czech golf courses is also proved by the fact that many of them have been designed by prominent foreign architects, such as Gary Player (the course at Cihelny near Karlovy Vary), Miguel A.Jiménés (the course at Čeladná), Les Furber and Jim Eremek (the course at Karlštejn), and John Burns (the course at Konopiště).
A complete list of golf courses in the Czech Republic is to be found in the CzechTourism Golf Catalogue, which you can
download at www.czechtourism.com (section Active Holiday). The catalogue is available in English and German and divided according to the regions of the Czech Republic.
The description of every course includes basic information about the course, a map of the signature hole, GPS coordinates,
and suggestions for accommodation in free categories: family, wellness, and congress.
Exhibitions and Fairs in the Czech Republic
The main organisers of exhibitions and fairs in the CR include:
ABF Fairs Administration – www.abf.cz
Incheba Expo Prague – www.incheba.cz
Ostrava Exhibitions – www.cerna-louka.cz
České Budějovice Exhibitions Grounds – www.vcb.cz
Flora Olomouc Exhibition Grounds – www.flora-ol.cz
Garden of Bohemia Exhibition Grounds – www.zahrada.cech.cz
Czech Spas: The Tested Combination of Science and Nature
Several centuries of history, over thirty spa centres in the country, hundreds of curative springs and rich deposits of peloids – all this makes the Czech Republic one of the international Spa Superpowers. Like any Superpower, this one also has several primacies to its credit.
Nowhere else in the world can you find such a concentration of curative springs as in the West Bohemian spa triangle, which consists of the three famous spa towns: Karlovy Vary, Mariánské Lázně, and Františkovy Lázně. This list of unique venues would not be complete without Jáchymov and Jeseník. In 1906, experts in Jáchymov continued the scientific discoveries made by Marie Curie, being the first in the world to start using the curative effects of radon-rich waters. Jeseník is famous thanks to Vincenz Priessnitz, who founded the first hydrotherapeutic institute here in 1822.
What makes the Czech spa industry so unique? It is mainly the combination of high-quality medical care, progressive curative and rehabilitation methods with the use of natural elements: mineral waters, curative peloids (peat and mud), and natural gases, as well as the positive effect of the climate. Czech spas welcome visitors all the year round, but at the beginning of May the spa season begins ceremonially and the curative springs are symbolically reopened.
Spa Programmes for Everyone
Relaxation from work duties and stress, treatment of ailments or regaining strength during convalescence –the reasons for visiting spas differ, as do the spa programmes which adapt to these needs. Today their options do not cover only classic spa stays and programmes for seniors or children, but also include popular wellness programmes. These are usually made to measure and you can try, for example, programmes for managers, anti-stress programmes, weight-loss programmes, detoxification or wellness and beauty programmes. Czech spas promote medical wellness—a harmonious combination of natural curative resources and qualified medical care for many wellness procedures, as well as other supplementary activities (golf, Nordic walking etc.).
Karlovy Vary – the Largest Czech Spa Town
Karlovy Vary, the most famous Czech spa, is a popular place for relaxation for clients from around the world. The attraction of the town is increased by significant cultural events. At the beginning of July, film stars and film fans gather here to experience the unique atmosphere of the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival (www.kviff.com). In October, it is specialists in the field of tourism and the spa industry who meet here at an event known as Karlovy Vary Week. Apart from the Spa Conference and Spa Festival (www.spalife.info), the Karlovy Vary Week also includes the world’s oldest festival of tourism films – TOURFILM (www.tourfilm.cz).
Tourists and spa guests from abroad represent a significant target group for the Czech spa industry. According to the data of the Czech Statistical Office, during the first half of 2011 the majority of visitors to Czech spa facilities were visitors from Germany, Russia, followed by the Ukraine, Austria, Slovakia and Poland. For example, Russian visitors to the Karlovy Vary spa take advantage of the International Airport which has direct links to Saint Petersburg and Moscow. Prague’s Ruzyně Airport provides direct regular airline links to over 100 destinations.
Further information about the different spas is available on the websites of the CzechTourism Agency (www.czechtourism.com, link Spa holiday), where you can download free of charge the current Spa Catalogue in Czech, English, German, and Russian, or on the websites http://spa.czechtourism.com, and www.spas.cz.
Discover the Beauty of the Czech Republic
Relaxation and peace of mind are words that come to mind when most people who have been to the region think of this country in Central Europe – the Czech Republic. They discovered that this new EU member has a glorious countryside crisscrossed with thousands of kilometres of hiking tracks, an incredible number of cultural sites, picturesque historical towns and renowned spas where people come for treatment and to relax. The tourist season is not restricted to a mere few months of the year either. You can travel to the Czech Republic anytime and see for yourself what an ideal holiday and short break destination it really is.
Despite a history stretching back over a thousand years the Czech Republic is the youngest state of the ten that joined the EU in 2004. On 1 January 1993 the Czechoslovak Federal Republic was divided into two separate countries – the Czech and Slovak Republics. Shortly after the fall of Communism in 1989 the country became an important and popular tourist destination mostly due to the diversity visitors found here. Few would expect to find such a variety of places in such a small country which comprises 3 historical regions – Bohemia, Moravia and Silesia. In the west there are scores of extinct volcanoes and hot springs, in the north sandstone ‘rock towns’ tower over the landscape, in the central regions the fertile Elbe plain spreads out far and wide and the south is literally pockmarked with ponds and lakes. The Moravian mountain ranges are thickly carpeted with forest which gradually gives way to the undulating wine growing regions of South Moravia. The whole country is girdled by mountain ranges, ideal for winter sports.
The Czech Republic displays a symbiosis of natural and man-made beauty. As far as cultural sites are concerned it is a top European destination. Tourists from around the globe come to see our culture, history and architecture. The clearest evidence of this is the inclusion of 12 sites in Bohemian and Moravian towns in UNESCO’s world cultural heritage list. In 2005 a large part of the Czech Paradise area including the Protected Czech Paradise nature reserve were declared a UNESCO Geopark. Visitors can easily reach any of these places by car from Prague in a matter of 30 minutes to 3 hours. Prague’s historical centre has been part of the UNESCO list since 1992. No other place on earth can boast such a high concentration of UNESCO sites in such a small area.
– the first sugar cube was made in Dačice?
In 1829 the brothers František and Tomáš Grebner established a sugar refinery – using sugar beet – in Kostelní Vydří near Dačice. After realising that neither the climate nor the soil in the area was suitable for growing sugar beet, František decided to establish a refinery that formed raw sugar into various shapes and textures – icing sugar, caster sugar, coarse sugar, sugar loaves, sugar cubes, and chips.
In 1840 Swiss-born businessman Jakub Kryštof Rad became the director of the Dačice refinery. His wife gave him the idea and in 1841 he manufactured the first 300 white and pink cubes of beet sugar. Rad moulded them in an apparatus he himself had made. Thus an invention was born, whose practical use was soon to be discovered by the whole world. More at www.dacice-mesto.cz.
– the most often visited historic landmark in the Czech Republic is Prague Castle?
In the year 2007 alone, this architectonic jewel was visited by 1.42 million visitors. According to the Guinness Book of Records, Prague Castle is the largest populated castle in the world. According to archaeological findings and the oldest written sources, it is inferred that the Prague Castle was founded around 880 by the duke Bořivoj of the Přemyslid dynasty. Apart from being the seat of the Head of State (the President), Prague Castle is also a significant cultural and historical monument. The crown jewels, the remains of Czech kings, precious Christian relics, artistic treasures as well as historical documents are kept here. More at www.hrad.cz.
– Czech Taťána Kuchařová won the title of Miss World in 2006?
In 2006 the Miss World international competition for the most beautiful woman in the world took place in the Polish capital, Warsaw, and the then 18-year-old Taťána Kuchařová won the title. The competition started in 1951, and it is the oldest international beauty contest for girls from the whole world. In 2006 there were 106 contestants. More at www.missworld.com.
– the world’s largest stadium is in Prague?
The Strahov Stadium with an area of 63 000 square metres is the largest stadium in the world. The construction work started as early as in 1926. It was first used by members of the Sokol gymnastics organisation and later by members of sports associations. At the moment, there is FC Sparta training centre there. On occasion, concerts of famous stars such as The Rolling Stones are held there.
– the most famous Czech song is the Beer Barrel Polka?
The Beer Barrel Polka, or Roll Out the Barrels, is probably the best known Czech song in the world. It has become popular in many countries during the Second World War. It was composed in 1927 by Jaromír Vejvoda as an instrumental piece of music. He adapted it in 1929 and in 1934 Václav Zeman wrote the Czech lyrics and called it Škoda lásky (Wasted Love). It became a popular song with the allied armies as well as Czechoslovak pilots in the Battle of Britain. Its popularity is testified also by the fact that it accompanied astronauts on the Discovery Space Shuttle; it was also played in the popular series M.A.S.H. The Vejvoda family archive records 14 names of the song and 27 versions of lyrics in various languages. More at www.j-vejvoda.cz.
– the Czech Republic places first on the list of beer consumption per capita?
Beer is considered the national drink by the Czechs; there are almost 500 kinds of beer. Among the most popular are top-quality light and dark lager beers. According to the Czech Statistical Office, each Czech consumes 163 litres of beer per year.
– the first radioactive spa was established in Jáchymov?
The Jáchymov Spa is a very famous spa centre, where the first spa with radioactive waters was established. At the beginning of the 20th century strong radioactive springs were discovered there and subsequently in 1906, the first radon spa in the world was estbalished. The spa was established after Pierre and Marie Curie, Nobel Prize winners, had isolated the first radioactive elements – polonium and radium – from the waste from the Jáchymov uranium ore, the uranite. The thermal and radioactive springs improve the condition of patients with metabolic disorders, ailments of the nervous system, locomotive system disorders. Metabolic illnesses (diabetes and gout) are also treated here as well as age-related illnesses. More at www.jachymov.cz.
– the oldest university in the Central Europe is Charles University?
Prague University was founded by the Czech King and Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV in 1348 as the first university (studium generale) north of the Alps and east of Paris. It followed the example of the universities in Bologna and Paris and shortly it became internationally renowned. Today there are 42 000 students studying there. More at www.cuni.cz.
– many famous personalities are of Czech origin?
For example the former US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright was born in Prague (in 1937) in the family of the Czech diplomat Josef Korbel. Miloš Forman, the film director and winner of two Academy Awards for the films Amadeus and One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, moved to the United States in 1968.
The list of famous people in the cultural sphere includes composers Bedřich Smetana, Leoš Janáček, Antonín Dvořák (his symphony “From the New World” accompanied the first man on the Moon), and Bohuslav Martinů, writers Franz Kafka, Karel Čapek, Jaroslav Seifert (Nobel Prize laureate), Jaroslav Hašek, Bohumil Hrabal and Milan Kundera, and mezzo-soprano Magdalena Kožená.
Athletes of world renown include Emil Zátopek, Věra Čáslavská, Petr Čech, Pavel Nedvěd, Dominik Hašek, Jaromír Jágr, Jan Železný, Roman Šebrle, Kateřina Neumannová, Kateřina Emmons, Barbora Špotáková, both Martina Navrátilová and Ivan Lendl are Czech-born as well. Speed skater Martina Sáblíková is a double winner from the 2010 Olympic Games in Vancouver, and from the 2014 Olympic Games in Sochi. In 2011 and 2014, Petra Kvitová won the Wimbledon women’s singles tennis title.
– the words robot and dollar are of Czech origin?
The word robot was first used in 1920 in a dramatic play R.U.R. – Rossum’s Universal Robots, written by the well-known Czech playwright and journalist Karel Čapek. The word was suggested to him by his brother Josef, after Karel asked him what name he should give to the artificial being. The originally intended “labor” sounded too artificial. The word dollar is close to the Old Czech word tolar, which is related to the German Taler, a shortened version of the original Joachimstaler, meaning “of Joachimstal (St. Joachim’s Valley)”. This was the name of a silver coin which Count Shlik started to mint in 1518 in Czech Jáchymov.
– many inventions and discoveries such as contact lenses were made by Czech scientists?
Otto Wichterle, Czech chemist and the founder of the Institute of Macromolecular Chemistry in Prague, was the inventor of soft contact lenses. He is also considered the founder of macromolecular chemistry and is the author of about 150 inventions. In 1993 one of the planetoids was named after Wichterle. The physicist and chemist Jaroslav Heyrovský was the first Czech scientist to win the Nobel Prize. It was awarded to him in 1959 for the discovery of the polarographic method and its use in electroanalytical chemistry. The outstanding Czech orientalist Bedřich Hrozný, who lived at the turn of the 20th century, became famous for deciphering the ancient Hittite language. In November 1915 he announced that he was able to read the writing of the ancient Hittites, the official language of the Hittite empire. The first sentence he deciphered was: “Now you shall eat bread, and water you shall drink…”
– the unique nanospider technology originated in Liberec?
Nanospider is a unique technology enabling the production of nanofiber textiles on an industrial scale. Nanofibres are fibres measuring 20 to 500 nm in diameter. The use of these materials is wide, they can be used in medicine, in car industry, power engineering and other fields such as construction, cosmetics, environmental protection, for protective equipment etc. Nanofibres and their application are considered material of the third millennium by specialists from around the globe. Professor Oldřich Jirsák and his team from the Department of Nonwovens at the Technical University of Liberec were the first in the world to design machinery for the production of nanofibre textile on an industrial scale. More at www.elmarco.com or www.vslib.cz.
– medicine against cancer was invented by a Czech scientist?
In 2004 Antonín Holý, chemist from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry at the Czech Academy of Science, presented the result of his collaboration with American colleagues. It is a tablet which significantly prolongs the life of AIDS patients. In 2008 a new substance intended for treating lymphoma and chronic leukaemia came under testing at five Czech and five American clinics. Professor Antonín Holý co-developed six drugs used worldwide and sixty Czech and foreign patents. In 2007 he was proclaimed the best Czech scientist. More at www.uochb.cas.cz.
– the largest equestrian statue is on Vítkov?
The largest European equestrian statue cast in bronze stands on Vítkov Hill in Prague. The statue of the Hussite leader Jan Žižka of Trocnov weighs 16.5 tonnes and is 9 meters high, 9.6 meters long, and 5 meters wide.