Didn’t have time to read the news lately? Kafkadesk’s got you covered. Here’s our recap of what’s been going on and what you might have missed these last few days: number of Chinese tourists breaks record in Hungary, Slovak killer of Filipino expat sentenced to prison, and Prague moves to ban giant teddy bears and animal-costumed “street-artists”.
Chinese tourists on the rise in Hungary
More than 250.000 Chinese tourists visited Hungary in 2018, according to China’s National Tourism Office in Budapest, as quoted by the state news agency Xinhua. This is the first time more than a quarter of a million (256.000, to be precise) Chinese tourists visited the Central European country, and marks a 11% increase compared to the previous year. Hungary’s appeal to visitors from the Middle Kingdom falls short, however, of other neighbouring countries, including the Czech Republic, where 620.000 Chinese tourists flocked last year. According to Cui Ke, the head of the Chinese Tourism Office in the Hungarian capital, less than 24.000 Hungarian visitors headed to China in 2018.
Tourism has been high on the agenda of Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s attempts to increase economic, trade and people-to-people relations with the world’s second largest economy: in order to attract more Chinese tourists, Hungary announced the launch of new direct flights between both countries, including between Budapest and Shanghai.
Killer of Filipino expat in Slovakia sentenced to jail
Juraj Hossu was charged with the killing of Filipino expat Henry Acorda in Bratislava last summer and sentenced to six years in jail. Originally from the southern city of Dunajská Streda, Juraj Hossu, 28, had pleaded guilty to murdering Henry Acorda, a 36-year-old financial analyst from the Philippines living and working in Bratislava. According to reports, and as shown on the video caught by street cameras, Hossu, who was allegedly under the influence of alcohol and drugs, killed Henry Acorda when the latter tried to prevent him from harassing a female friend.
Despite some reports pointing to Hossu’s social media profiles filled with references to “white power” and the Ku Klux Klan, prosecutors did not find enough evidence to prove the murder was racially motivated. In his final statement during the trial, M. Hossu expressed his regrets for the incident, saying he had “acted unwittingly” and apologized to Acorda’s family, as well as to his own. The murder had sparked a wave of indignation throughout the entire country and prompted a debate on safety issues in Bratislava.
Prague moves to ban giant teddy bear attractions in city centre
Prague is reportedly moving to ban giant animal figures and costumed-street artists that operate next to the city center’s main tourist landmarks, including on Old Town Square. According to local reports, Prague 1 authorities are currently examining a possible ban on “street-artists” wearing gigantic animal costumes, most notably polar bears and pandas, scattered around the Prague historical centre to entertain tourists and take pictures with them (for a fee).
The municipal authorities of Prague 1 are seeking to introduce an amendment to the current busking decree to establish that these attractions do not qualify as “street-art”. The purpose of the law is to promote “something that is at least a little artistic, not a stupid attraction that only pollutes the public space”, according to mayor of Prague 1 Pavel Čižinský.
In recent months, Prague 1 authorities have intensified their fight against a number of tourism-related attractions that pollute the public space of the Czech capital’s UNESCO-protected center and are seen as a nuisance by local residents: this includes a possible ban on so-called beer-bikes, limiting pub crawls and the establishment of a night-life mayor to regulate the excesses of drunken tourists partying in the city centre.