In Business News: Czech Post receives record fine; Guides Association calls for return of tough exams; new tourist ads to air; Czechs continue to grab lunch away from the office.
Czech Post has been given a record 1.45 million crown file for failing to deliver packages near Prague in 2012. The Czech Telecommunciations Office ran checks in the area of Říčany, Kostelec nad Černými lesy and Šestajovice, after individuals in the area filed complaints over a longer period that they had not received their mail even though they were often home at key times. The bureau handed down the fine and rejected an appeal, meaning the decision is binding. Czech Post defended its mistake by saying the hub in question was one of the more complex among its many depots; the spokeswoman confirmed that concrete measures had been taken to correct the situation.
At the start of the new tourist season, the Czech Republic’s Guides Association called for the return of exams and tougher licence checks to counter an apparent drop in guiding standards around the country. At a press conference on Thursday, guide Jana Slezáková pointed to nonsense overheard on tours including that ‘Peter the Great founded the spa town of Karlovy Vary’ or that ‘Czechs shopped only at second-hand stores’. Presently, news website iDnes notes, almost anyone in the Czech Republic can register to work as a guide, whereas stringent exams were required in the past. The Guides Association says by contrast countries like Italy, Spain and Austria, all carefully monitor the standards of guided tours especially at important historic sites.
In other tourism news, the Ministry for Regional Development and CzechTourism announced they will run a new series of TV ads promoting the Czech Republic on American, Russian, Chinese and German TV channels. Minister Věra Jourová confirmed the campaign had cost a total of 42 million crowns – 36 million of which was paid for from EU funds. According to Jourová, the Czech Republic expects a continued rise in the number of Russian visitors this year, unaffected by recent dramatic developments in Ukraine. Last year, a record 7.3 million foreign tourists visited the Czech Republic, bringing in a record 140 billion crowns in revenues.
Former TV Nova magnate Vladimír Železný will stay on with the Czech firm Empresa Media despite being let go as the recent head of the firm’s TV Barrandov, a Prague-based station broadcasting largely Communist-era TV series and films. In the 1990s, Mr Železný launched the Czech Republic’s first and for many years most successful private TV station, TV Nova, turning him into a household name. MarketingSalesMedia reported that the new general director of TV Barrandov will be Marcela Hrdá.
The recent recession and austerity measures had no apparent effect on Czechs when it comes to where they eat lunch. According to a survey by the firm Edenred, almost three-quarters of Czechs continue to visit canteens or nearby restaurants at lunchtime, rather than eat a sandwich at their desk. The head of Edenred, Martin Bulíř, said the tradition was without equal in the rest of the European Union. The number of Czechs who left the office at lunch remained high and barely unchanged between 2010 and today: 70 and 72 percent. By contrast, only 44 percent of Spaniards ate lunch at cafeterias or restaurants four years ago; the number has since dropped to 23 percent, the survey says.