Written by: Anita Lišková
TRAVEL INDUSTRY: Advertising the Czech Republic
The goal of the first Czech foreign advertising campaign ever is to support awareness of the Czech Republic and its image abroad. The thirty-second advertising spots focus on potential European tourists who like to travel for culture, history, and architecture. The ad, which is to be repeated at least five hundred times, will be aired on four Europe-wide channels – CNN, BBC, Discovery, and Eurosport, and will run from the end of March and through April 2004. The campaign will be reinforced by press conferences and ads in printed media. Whether the project will expand depends on the budget. “Right now we’re counting on 1 million euros. But the number of broadcasts can be increased if private subjects join in the campaign,” says David Gladiš, director of Czech Tourism, a government agency that is preparing the campaign in cooperation with the regional development ministry.
TRANSPORTATION: No more homeless at Czech train stations
Grimy, derelict Czech train stations will soon get a facelift. Czech Railways has called a tender for the provision of public services at train stations throughout the country. The plan calls for shops, and not just shops for newspapers and flowers, but also express dry cleaners, pharmacies, and bookmaking offices. The aim is to improve the environment for the public and guarantee financial revenues for Czech Railways. The Italian firm Grandi Stazioni will rent Prague’s Main Station and the stations in Karlovy Vary and Mariánské lázně. Up to 100,000 people a day pass through Prague’s Main Station, one of the most significant stations in the country. Refurbishing it and the protected landmark Fanta Building will cost CZK 658 million and take at least five years, turning it into a pleasant shopping center.
FINANCE: Paying bills on time
According to data monitored by the Ministry of Industry and Trade, companies in the Czech Republic are getting better at paying their bills on time. Past-due industrial sphere receivables, which in the first six months of 2002 reached nearly CZK 55 billion, fell to around CZK 46 billion in June last year. Statistics indicate improvement in the non-industrial sector as well. This trend has been visible since 2000, and one can anticipate that it will continue. According to Josef Plandor, deputy director of national economic analyses at the ministry, “The financial situation in the business sector has improved significantly, and thanks to foreign investors restructuring is accelerating, while firms face an increased threat of bankruptcy. The number of bankruptcy proposals has dropped, and they are being handled better.”