Opposition Parties Propose Combined Ministry of Culture and Tourism

The two opposition electoral blocs, Pirates and Mayors (PaS) and SPOLU, have both expressed support for a future merger of the Ministries of Culture and Tourism. The idea is supported by current Culture Minister Lubomír Zaorálek, but the Regional Development Minister Klara Dostálová, currently responsible for tourism, is sceptical. Photo Credit: KK / BD.

Czech Rep., Aug 16 (BD) – As the tourism industry recovers slowly from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, discussion has begun of its future. According to reports from iDnes.cz, the two main opposition blocs for the upcoming elections, Pirates and Mayors (PaS) and SPOLU, have suggested that tourism should be placed under the auspices of the Ministry of Culture, to create a combined Ministry of Culture and Tourism. 

“We think that tourism should be in the name of the ministry,” said Jan Lacina (STAN), Deputy Mayor of Prague-6 and a candidate on the PaS Prague list in the October elections. “We are very much in favor of the establishment of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, because our mayors in the border regions take a strong interest in tourism, and there are many situations where these two sectors complement each other.”

Supporters of the change hope that emphasising the importance of tourism in the name of the ministry would lead to the sector receiving more attention, respect, and money. These supporters include both PaS, and the SPOLU alliance of TOP 09, the Christian Democrats (KDU-CSL), and the Civic Democrats (ODS), who according to polling have a chance of sharing power after the elections.

In this event, possible candidates to lead the ministry include, from STAN, the current director of the Prague Spring Festival, Roman Bělor, and Senator David Smoljak. If the post fell to SPOLU, TOP 09 may propose Pavel Svoboda, director of the Pardubice Chamber Philharmonic and leader of the SPOLU list in the Pardubice Region, or Radovan Auer, director of the World of Books Festival.

The current Minister of Culture, Lubomír Zaorálek (CSSD) responded positively to the idea of ​​adding the tourism brief to his ministry. “I agree with this, I like the connection,” he told iDnes.cz.  ”Introducing the Czech Republic to those who come, alongside what they can visit here, is missing. At the moment it is not happening.”

On the contrary, the current Minister for Regional Development, Klára Dostálová (ANO), whose brief currently covers CzechTourism, the state tourism organisation, was critical. “This idea has been on the table many times,” she told iDnes.cz. ”Tourism affects many departments. It is certainly not just about monuments. It is an important economic sector, so from my point of view it is more to do with business.”

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