Prague Tourism statement on the current development of the Russian invasion of Ukraine
The representatives of the Czech Republic and Prague, like many other representatives of European and non-European countries around the world, deeply condemn the Russian invasion of the neighboring sovereign country of Ukraine.
At the same time, the Czech Republic and Prague, one of the main Czech cities faced with the arrival of refugees, express their solidarity with those who have lost their homes or even loved ones due to this armed conflict, providing them with support and help.
“As the current situation has affected many aspects of our daily lives, we at the Prague Convention Bureau, the official representative of the City of Prague in the field of the meetings industry, would like to comment on the current development in Prague in this regard and answer many questions that may possibly arise with this unprecedented situation,” says Roman Muška, Managing Director of the Prague Convention Bureau.
State of emergency declared without effect for residents or travelers
So far, the Czech Republic has hosted about 200,000 refugees (out of nearly 3 million refugees in total according to the UN report), especially mothers with young children. To be able to effectively manage the waves of new arrivals, the Czech government has declared a state of emergency from March 4 for 30 days which could then be extended. The state of emergency has no effect on local residents, tourists or business travellers.
Prague rooms available for events
The two largest cities in the Czech Republic, Prague and Brno, serve as the main point of first contact in the country. The city of Prague has created a support center in the Prague Congress Center which has suitable conditions to accommodate a larger number of people. Nevertheless, the event operation of the Prague Congress Center is not completely affected. The convention center still hosts local and international events in other parts of the site, which are separate from the support center.
“We believe that we are able to meet not only humanitarian needs, but also our commercial needs. One way to support us and the rest of the Czech Republic, as well as Europe, is to carry out planned events,” says Lenka Žlebková, CEO of the Prague Congress Center. “We are very grateful to the organizers of the World Congress on Environmental Education, who saw this as an opportunity, and they are currently at the PCC to organize their congress while the refugee center is in full operation. It is very unfortunate that two other international congresses preferred to move them to an 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 resolve it. Our building has an excellent layout to hold various events at the same time and our team is experienced in using our best features for difficult situations,” she adds.
Simultaneously, two other major congress centers in Prague are currently able to host large-scale events. With smaller halls, Prague can provide total space for more than 180,000 attendees at the same time.
Prague seating capacity
Some of the Ukrainian refugees have found asylum with their relatives or friends already living in the Czech Republic. Refugees who do not have this possibility have been accommodated in places specially created for this purpose or with Czech families. Czech hoteliers also reacted quickly to this situation and offered part of their accommodation capacity, mainly until the end of March 2022. “Prague has lost neither its reputation as a safe destination, nor the scope and quality of the services provided. The hotels are ready to meet all the expectations of tourists and participants of MICE events and thus reaffirm the position of the capital among the main MICE destinations,” says Václav Stárek, President of the Czech Association of Hotels and Restaurants. Prague is always able to host even the largest and most demanding events and their participants. In total, Prague offers more than 44,500 rooms (more than 102,000 beds) in 910 hotels of various categories.
“As destination representatives, we are proud of all the immediate support provided by many in the meetings industry. At the same time, we are aware of the need to maintain business meetings to enable the continuity of the support provided from the first days, even though the last 2 years have been very difficult for the meetings industry”, adds Roman Muška.
Traveling to Prague and the Czech Republic
Likewise, to other countries, the Czech Republic has completely closed its airspace to air carriers from Russia as of Sunday, February 27, 2022, midnight. Due to the declared state of war in Ukraine, civilian airspace was closed and air traffic to and from Ukraine was halted. Other lines are in service.
COVID-19 restrictions lifted
The Czech Republic and Prague are closely monitoring the development of COVID-19 with regard to refugees coming to the destinations. Based on the latest figures, the Czech Republic has lifted all restrictions except for the obligation to wear face masks (FFP2 or similar) on public transport and in establishments providing medical or social services from the March 14.