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Czechs travelling more and more, Croatia plays firts fiddle after a one-year break

Company: Amcham

Czechs are travelling more and more to foreign countries. The number of longer trips exceeding four nights increased by 70 thousand last year compared with 2015. Overall, Czechs crossed the border 4.3 million times. After a one-year break, Croatia was once again the number one destination last year. Croatia was more popular than Slovakia, where interest dropped by one third compared to 2015, the historically strongest year. In the majority of countries, we will spend less on our vacation than in the previous year. This year, however, we will only pay less for shopping in Bulgaria, Turkey and Hungary. The most expensive among popular destinations are Austria and France according to an analysis of Czech vacations made by UniCredit Bank.

Czechs’ appetite for travel is not subsiding. Last year, we took almost 2% more longer-term foreign trips than the year before, i.e. 4.3 million, the highest number in the past seven years. “The fastest growth in real wages in the past eight years combined with the falling unemployment rate are reflected in Czechs’ interest in travel to foreign countries,” explains Pavel Sobíšek, Chief Economist of UniCredit Bank.

Same as last year, it is very likely that this year we will prefer vacationing at the seaside. That is to say that after a one-year break, Croatia was once again number one among popular destinations last year. Thanks to a 15% yoy increase in the number of trips (2016: 828 thousand trips lasting more than four nights), Croatia surpassed Slovakia. Interest in our eastern neighbour fell by a third last year (2016: 555 thousand trips), the only top-six destination to experience such a decrease. Italy, in the third spot, was breathing down Slovakia’s neck with the number of trips (552 thousand trips), followed by Austria (373 thousand), Greece (265 thousand) and Spain (182 thousand).

It is clear from Czech tourists’ top six most popular foreign destinations that they prefer a familiar environment and safety. “Interest in buying summer holidays has been enormous in terms of advance sales. Based on the results we have so far, we expect a record-breaking season. The hit of this summer will be Greece; Egypt, where we are reporting the absolutely highest year-on-year increase, is also back in the spotlight,” says Jan Bezděk of Fischer Travel Agency. The renewed demand in destinations such as Egypt or Turkey is also being caused by lower prices for holiday packages, making them very attractive destinations, especially in terms of the price-performance ratio.

Chart: The most popular holiday destinations for Czechs vacationing longer than 4 days

Dovolená, graf
Description: Number of trips per year (in thousands), Croatia, Slovakia, Italy, Austria, Greece, Spain
Source: The Czech Statistical Office, longer trips with a minimum 4 overnight stays

Holidays in foreign countries are more expensive than at home; Bulgaria is still the cheapest

This year, shopping will be cheaper than at home in only three of the eleven most popular destinations visited by Czechs – Bulgaria, Turkey and Hungary. In Bulgaria we will be able to buy goods or services worth CZK 1,370 for one thousand Czech crowns.

In the remaining destinations, shopping will be rather more expensive for Czech tourists compared to their homeland. Due to the low cost of living at home, foreign countries are, on average, 15% more expensive for Czechs. The good news is, however, that the surcharge is insignificant in Croatia and Slovakia. Our eastern neighbours are more attractive in terms of price than the eastern Adriatic coast,” explains Pavel Sobíšek. For one thousand crowns, Czech tourists can buy a package of goods or services in Slovakia and Croatia that is just CZK 20 and CZK 37 smaller, respectively, than at home. In other destinations, Czechs will have to fork out more. They won’t even get the equivalent of CZK 800 for one thousand Czech crowns.

Chart: Value of one thousand Czech crowns in foreign countries (February 2017)

Dovolená, graf
Description: Bulgaria, Turkey, Hungary, Slovakia, Croatia, AVERAGE*, Greece, Spain, Germany, Italy, France, Austria
Sources: OECD, Eurostat, Czech National Bank, UniCredit Bank Czech Republic and Slovakia.  
* Weighted average, where the weight is the popularity rate of the destination or its share in Czechs’ total trips to the 11 most visited European countries lasting more than four days.

Prices are higher in tourist destinations; peripheries are cheaper

There are also significant price differences between cities in individual countries. Popular tourist destinations are often more expensive than other cities. “In Croatia, Dubrovnik is the most expensive (649 CZK); considerable differences also exist within Italy. In Palermo, Sicily, you can buy goods and services worth CZK 689 for one thousand Czech crowns, in Rome it’s only CZK 568, and in Bolzano in the north you will only get goods and services worth CZK 510. Similarly, Turkish Istanbul is more expensive for Czechs than their homeland, but they can save at seaside resorts,” says Pavel Sobíšek.

Table: Purchasing power of one thousand Czech crowns in select cities

Table: Purchasing power of one thousand Czech crowns in select cities


Country   City  Value of one 
thousand crowns 
 Country City  Value of one 
thousand crowns 


Bratislava 860 Turkey Istanbul  947
Poprad 981 Antalya 1 060
Žilina 984 Izmir 1 095
Croatia Split 792 France Paris 506
Dubrovník 649 Nantes 613
Pula 792 Marseille 646
Italy Rome 568 Grenoble 516
Palermo 689 Bulgaria Burgas 1 092
Bolzano 510 Varna 1 136
Austria Vienna 596 Sofia 1 085
Salzburg 459  
Innsbruck 571

Source: www.numbeo.com

We can buy more for the same amount of money than last year; Czechs will be the best off in African countries and Turkey

Although in general foreign destinations are more expensive for Czech tourists than holidays at home, the good news is that holidays will be cheaper for Czechs this year. This year, holidays will be cheaper in ten out of the thirteen countries under review compared to the previous year. “For the second year in a row, Czech tourists will be the best off at three seaside destinations – Egypt, Turkey and Tunisia,” explains Pavel Sobíšek.

Same as last year, Czechs can look forward to the best improvement in their purchasing power in Egypt. This is owing to a sharp weakening of the Egyptian currency, losing half of its value compared to crown in the past year. While it is hard to quantify the increase in the Czech crown’s purchasing power in the case of Egypt, it reached 11.2% in Turkey and 6.6% in Tunisia. In no other country where the purchasing power of the crown increased over the last year is the increment higher than 1%. Thus, Czech tourists will most likely feel no difference. The highest increase among that group of countries is in Bulgaria (1.8%).

And how should tourists deal with an important issue they have every year – whether to exchange money or use a payment card? “For trips in Europe, North America and other wealthier countries, you just need some cash to cover necessary expenses and the rest can be covered by your payment card. Thanks to this, you can get a more favourable exchange rate than if you exchanged cash in a foreign exchange office. Ideally, take two cards if you are taking a foreign trip – a credit card for payments and bookings in hotels, and a classic debit card for ATM withdrawals,” recommends Petr Plocek, Press Spokesperson of UniCredit Bank. On the other hand, it is good to take euros or dollars to more exotic destinations such as, for instance, Egypt, Tunisia or poorer countries of the Middle East, Southeast Asia or Latin America and exchange them there for local currency.

Chart: Change in the purchasing power of the Czech crown in other countries (February 2017, yoy in %)

Dovolená, graf

Sources: OECD, Eurostat, Czech National Bank, UniCredit Bank Czech Republic and Slovakia.
* The average does not include African countries.

The Ten Commandments of UniCredit Bank: Simple tips and tricks for managing your finances during foreign trips

  1. Don’t take needless cash with you; you can manage your vacation in Europe with a card and ATM withdrawals.
  2. If you have cash with you, do not carry all your money in one wallet.
  3. Take two cards with you; preferably one debit and one credit card. 
  4. Your credit card is good for making bookings or payments in shops; use your debit card for ATM withdrawals.
  5. If anything seems suspicious when you make a withdrawal or payment, go to a different ATM or shop.
  6. If an ATM does not give you your money, contact the closest bank branch or the police.
  7. If you forget your PIN or your card is stolen, deal with the situation immediately by contacting your bank at its special info-line. Save the number of the info-line in your mobile phone. 
  8. Don’t think that nothing can happen to you – get insurance! Travel insurance and card insurance are a must. 
  9. With UniCredit Bank, your ATM withdrawals are free of charge all around the world and you will get the most favourable exchange rate for making payments by card.
  10. Plan your ATM withdrawals beforehand so you don’t have to think about money and can just enjoy your holiday.


  • Czechs are travelling more and more; last year they made 4.3 million foreign trips lasting more than four days, i.e. 70 thousand more than the previous year.
  • Croatia is the most popular destination after a one-year break, surpassing Slovakia, last year’s winner.
  • Czech tourists’ foreign vacations will be, on average, 15% more expensive than taking a holiday at home this year.
  • Compared to last year, as many as ten of the most popular destinations will be cheaper; Czech tourists will be the best off in Egypt, Turkey and Tunisia.
  • Apart from North Africa, holidays in Bulgaria, Hungary and Turkey are cheaper than holidays at home, whereas Austria and France are the most expensive destinations for Czech tourists.
  • Tourist centres and capital cities are usually more expensive than peripheries. While, for instance, in Sicily’s Palermo you can buy goods worth CZK 689 for one thousand Czech crowns this year, in Bolzano you will only get goods worth CZK 510.
  • For travels in Europe, North America and other wealthier countries, you just need a little cash and your payment card can take care of the rest of your expenses.
  • If you travel to a more exotic destination, take euros or dollars and change them for local currency after reaching your destination.

Tags: Finance | Tourism |

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