Prague, Aug 11 (CTK) – The Czech Republic received about 448,300 applications for short-term visas last year, 70,000 less than a year ago, with the number from the Chinese on a rise and that from Russians falling, the Report on the Situation in Migration and Integration of Foreigners in 2015 said.
The government will deal with the report soon.
The number of applications for short-term visas which are valid for 90 days and are mainly used by tourists has been falling for the second year in a row.
The short-term or Schengen visas enable their holders to enter not only the specific country that gave the permit, but also all other members of the Schengen area without border controls.
In 2013, the Czech Republic received the record 640,000 applications, but the figure fell to 519,800 one year later.
Last year, Czech diplomatic offices handled 448,300 applications.
The fall last year was largely due to the Russian travel agencies having shifted their focus to internal destinations, the report said.
This was caused by the weakening of the Russian rouble due to international sanctions. Nevertheless, Russians applied for 203,371 visas, while about 202,000 were granted. This was a 38 percent fall compared with 2014.
A significant growth in the number of applications and granted visas was recorded by Czech diplomatic offices in China. Beijing has joined the five busiest Czech diplomatic offices.
The Czech office in Beijing received 16,500 applications and granted 16,100 visas. In all, Czech diplomatic offices in China accepted 30,600 applications, which was 40 percent more than in 2014.
EU state secretary Tomas Prouza said on Thursday the increased interest in the visas for the Czech Republic was caused by an active policy of the current government.
“Support for tourism has been one of the priorities of the new Czech policy towards China,” Prouza said.
“This has been reflected by the latest statistics. We are doing very well,” he added, referring to the data from the Czech Statistical Office (CSU).
The CSU has said Chinese are in the sixth place among the countries from which tourists are coming to the Czech Republic. After the USA, China has become the second most important country outside the EU for the Czech Republic.
Apart from Russians and Chinese, Ukrainians, Turks and Belarusians submit the applications most frequently.