The Czech Republic, a place known for its spectacular architecture, affordable nightlife, and having a high standard of living has jumped two spaces this year. Ranked for having the highest density of castles in the world and first for beer drinking per capita, the Czech Republic has a lot to offer. Further, notables such a Franz Kafka, Sigmund Freud, and Oskar Schindler were all born in the Czech Republic. While the Czech Republic’s history has much to boast about, most recently they have gained a reputation for maintaining a hard-line position on refusing to accept refugees under EU relocation programmes. This has resulted in the European Commission launching legal proceedings against the Czech Republic (along with Poland and Hungary). The Czech Republic also carried out plans to change their short-form English name to Czechia (pronounced “Check-ya”) last year – which was thought as controversial by some. Reports have shown that this change has not resonated with the Czech people nor international outlets, while others argue that such a big change cannot happen overnight.
Looking beyond its historical strengths, the Czech Republic has proven to be a leading Eastern European hub for business. The Czech Republic is currently one of the most successful countries in both Central and Eastern Europe in attracting foreign direct investment. Further, its geographical location, skilled workforce, and tax incentives have set the country up for greater economic opportunities.
This year the EU Commission opened a case against the Czech Republic, Poland, and Hungary regarding their refusal to take in refugees. While the Czech Republic may have a lot to offer, this negative coverage could potentially weaken the international perception of the Czech Republic.
Being known as an affordable travel destination and a hub for business in Eastern Europe gives the Czech Republic the ability to attract younger generations, and a potential to brand itself as a leader in tourism and enterprise. Although the first step arguably has been made by its “Czechia” rebranding, if the Czech Republic wants to further compete with other regional and international countries, it is essential to show the breadth of opportunities the Czech Republic can provide.