Zhengzhou, China, April 10 (CTK special correspondent) – The number of Chinese tourists coming to the Czech Republic rose by 56 percent in the first three months of the year, Czech Regional Development Minister Karla Slechtova said when opening a Czech-Chinese business forum today.

Slechtova also conducted talks with the vice-governor of the Chinese Henan Province.

Accompanied by a business delegation, Slechtova primarily wants to enhance the two countries’ relations in the sphere of tourism.

She wants to attract even more Chinese tourists to the Czech Republic and convince the Chinese authorities to prepare conditions for Czech tourists in China and encourage their interest.

“We have the biggest number of Chinese tourists from the whole group of 16 Central and Eastern European countries and it keeps growing,” Slechtova said, adding that the number of Chinese tourists in the Czech Republic was over 300,000 last year and it may rise by another 100,000 this year.

She said, however, that Chinese tourists only spend two to three days in the Czech Republic.

The efforts to convince them to stay longer failed in the past years, Slechtova said.

While on a tour of Europe, Chinese always want to visit a large number of countries, she added.

“For them, Europe is a single province, especially Central Europe or the former eastern Europe,” Slechtova said.

“We must try to get here as many people as possible as we know that they will not stay long. We will not target a single group, but we will try to make them rotate,” she added.

Slechtova pointed out that Chinese mostly invested their life-long savings in a trip to Europe, due to which the same people could not be expected to return to the Czech Republic.

Chinese tourists should also visit other places than Prague while in the Czech Republic, Slechtova said.

One can see some potential in south Bohemia, south Moravia and the Karlovy Vary Region, she added.

During her stay, Slechtova will be shown round the areas that might be interesting for Czech tourists. In Henan, these are the UNESCO-listed Longmen Grottoes and the Buddhist Shaolin Temple with its martial arts.

The Czechs’ interest in holidays in China is still small as only 20,000 of them travel to the country annually, Slechtova said.

Slechtova started her visit to Henan on Sunday.

On Tuesday, she will move to the town of Kunming in the Yunnan Province. She will discuss the opening of another direct flight route between the Czech Republic and China.