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Prague locals tire of tourists, 30 years after end of Communism

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Prague locals tire of tourists, 30 years after end of Communism

Prague locals tire of tourists, 30 years after end of Communism

As Czechs prepare to mark 30 years since the Velvet Revolution ended Communism - ushering in a boom in tourism and considerable wealth along with it - not all local residents see the change as positive.

Emily Spychal reports.

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Prague locals tire of tourists, 30 years after end of Communism

The view from Pavel's apartment overlooking Prague's majestic Old Town Square should make it the dream home.

But the hordes of tourists and clogged streets mean it no longer is.

As Czechs prepare to mark 30 years since the Velvet Revolution ended communism - ushering in a boom in tourism and considerable wealth along with it - not all local residents see the change as positive.

(SOUNDBITE) (Czech) PRAGUE RESIDENT AND FILMMAKER, PAVEL KACIREK, SAYING: "People have moved away, so services, shops, cheaper restaurants have gone with them, so the change has had a very negative impact on the population living here - or rather not living here any more." Pavel complains the city has lost its shape and become just a Disneyland for tourists to look at.

Nearly 8 million tourists visited Prague last year, making it one of the most visited cities in Europe.

The huge numbers put pressure on local services providing for 1.3 million residents.

One of the most acute problems is a lack of affordable accommodation, as many apartments are converted into offices or short-term lodgings.

Airbnb listed nearly 12,000 properties in Prague last year.

Kristof a local architect wants local people to come back.

(SOUNDBITE) (Czech) PRAGUE RESIDENT AND ARCHITECT, KRISTOF HANZLIK, SAYING: "Most of the problems have this basic root.

If this big overload recedes, maybe some apartments will free up and people will start moving back." The city has taken steps to address the problem, including appointing a "night mayor" to crack down on noise made by revelers at night.

Officials have also evicted a handful of currency exchanges that charged double-digit commissions.

They also plan to end rentals to tourism shops in favor of services for locals.

For now, though, many Czechs avoid the city center unless it is to visit one of the few spots left where only locals can reserve a seat.




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