Everyone has a preconceived notion of a city or country in their minds. It may have come from photographs, news reports or stories from friends or family that have been there. The CzechTourism agency recently surveyed recent European visitors on what they thought about the Czech Republic, and most importantly for the tourism bureau, how much they did or did not enjoy their stay. The results were interesting.
The best part (and hopefully you feel the same when you leave) was 93% of respondents said their stay in the Czech Republic was definitely positive. Unfortunately, our nearest neighbors seem to be the most discontent with us; Germans and Austrians were most likely to report they were “rather satisfied” versus being “definitely satisfied.”
Most people compared Prague to Vienna, Budapest and Paris; a very nice crowd to be associated with. When it came to what the city is “known for,” beer and sights came out tops. Poles, Hungarians and Germans though also mentioned our fabulous cuisine (well maybe they didn’t phrase it like that…)
Interesting also was the breakdown by nationality. The French for example, mentioned artist Alfonse Mucha, who spent a lot of time in France, and Czech writer Milan Kundera, who lives in Paris. The Germans and Austrians recollected composers Bedrich Smetana and Antonin Dvorak, while Czech writer Bohumil Hrabal is familiar to many Hungarians.
The Dutch often mentioned the country’s beautiful countryside, while the Spanish commented on the peaceful break-up of Czechoslovakia. The motor-loving Italians noted the Grand Prix event that takes place in Brno.
Before I moved here, I would have cited the country’s history and landmarks, like Charles Bridge, as well as the disastrous floods of 2002. Now it is the architecture, customs and people I find the most intriguing.
Photos courtesy of CzechTourism