The South Bohemian town of Vyšší Brod is located only six kilometers from the border with Austria. The local hotel also depends on tourists. A month ago it was full of Austrians, but in October they stayed at home. “We had a big drop compared to last year, in some weeks by up to 50 percent,” said the owner of the local hotel Šumava Jiří Franc. He has not experienced anything like this in 25 years of business.
They carefully follow all hygienic recommendations here. But Austrians are not attracted to trips to the Czech Republic now. There are a few people on weekdays, it’s better on weekends. “They say: ‘We still wanted to come to you for a Šumava steak, to relax a bit, because we don’t know how it will be. What if they close the borders again, ” Franc outlined.
Reservations are restricted, hoteliers offer guarantees
The Vyšší Brod confectionery is also unusually empty. Peace is also at the Lipno dam. The resort with 92 apartments for 500 people looks deserted. “September occupancy was quite good, but in October we record a drop of fifty percent, the occupancy is already very low,” said Lipno Lake Resort CEO Luboš Krejza.
At the same time, each apartment has its own entrance, so guests do not have to meet. Yet people are hesitant. “They are afraid to book in advance, they do not know whether they will be quarantined, they do not know whether they will not lose their spent funds,” Krejza added.
There are also vacancies for New Year’s Eve stays, which were 100% occupied last year. Czechs are afraid of advance payments for their stay in uncertain times. The resort therefore adjusted the conditions. “The moment they fall ill with a covid or are quarantined due to a covid, we will jointly move the reservation to another date,” Krejza explained. If they don’t agree, they’ll give people all their money back. And I think other hoteliers think the same. They will not become cheaper yet.
One-day trips still yes, longer ones no more
People’s fear of traveling, combined with covid-19, complicates the lives of entrepreneurs in other border areas as well. Near Germany and Poland, but also on the other side of the border.
In the Krmelec mountain hut near Kraví hora in Malá Úpa in the Krkonoše Mountains – a short distance from the Czech-Polish border – Poles also made up more than a third of the guests. “The last month or three weeks have been a really significant decrease, until there are almost no tourists,” said the owner of the hut, Karel Chotek.
The brewery with accommodation Trautenberk in Malá Úpa also reports a decrease in Polish lodgers. However, the number of day trips of Poles for local beer has not decreased yet. “They will come, refresh themselves in our restaurant, take a day trip and then leave back to Poland,” explained the brewery brewer Vojtěch Kaprálek.
Fewer visitors from the Czech Republic come abroad
On the Polish side of the Giant Mountains, on the other hand, the number of visitors from the Czech Republic decreased. For example, in the case of former uranium mines in Kowary, up to twenty percent of tourists from Bohemia used to be. Today it is the minimum, according to estimates one percent. Only Poles come.
The situation is similar on the border with Germany in Petrovice. The loss of clients here is in the order of tens of percent. “It’s been about ten days since they stopped driving almost completely. It’s bad, because neither we nor our bosses make money, “said waiter Petr Beneš. The owner of the local store Van Huynh Cao also confirms the few foreign visitors in the city.
The epidemic situation in the Czech Republic is to blame. The Germans are therefore afraid to go to Bohemia. This year, the operators of shops and services were saved by the summer season. “Summer was better, only now the last fortnight it’s very weak,” said hairdresser Tereza Němečková.
Operators then agree that if the situation lasts longer than just a few weeks, it can also mean existential problems for them.