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Lethbridge Herald Newspaper Archives

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Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - October 9, 1970, Lethbridge, Alberta 16 _ THE LETHIKIDCE HEKA1D Friday, Odabw Kfin HEAVY TOURIST TRAFFIC Tourists mingle with sidewalk artists and local strollers on Charles Bridge, a pedestrians-only structure in the heart of Prague. Czechoslovakia's tourist influx boomed this year, and Czech officials were faced with the problem of pro- viding adequate services for travellers. Record Tourist Traffic Strains Czech Services By PHASER MacDOlIGAU. PRAGUE (CP) People a visitor meets in a five-day visit to Czechoslovakia speak in such matter-of-fact tones of the events of 1968 that it's dif- ficult for an outsider to evalu- ate the emotional impact on the nation of the Soviet move into the country two years ago. There is no outward indica- tion in such major cities as P_rague and Brno of the Soviet military presence. The ex- planation is simple. The So- viets are on the western bor- ders, confronting the West's NATO forces, not around the cities. On the surface, the unseen Soviet presence doesn't weigh heavily on the people. Crowds thronging the main shopping streets of Prague and Brno appear gay and light-hearted. Restaurants are crowded. So are beer-drinking places where Czechoslovaks pursue one of their most popular pas- times. A state organization official Bays that times are much bet- ter than too years inflationary trend has been checked and jobs are plenti- ful. VIEW ENDORSED A European who speaks Czech and visits the country annually endorses the offi- cial's view. He says he finds the people more prosperous and much less restive than in the fall of 1968. He stresses that his conclusions are. based on talks with young people as well as old, and that he makes a habit of talking to those outside official circles. Certainly people are on the move within the auto, train, bus arid plane. Auto traffic into Prague from holiday areas on a Sun- day night moves at a slow crawl, bearing a striking re- s e m b 1 a n c e to the weekly home-from-the-cottage rush around Canadian urban centres. On week-days, seat reserva- tions on the Brno-to-Prague train have to be made days in advance although some other trains are much less crowded. Air traffic to holiday resorts In Bulgaria is so heavy that on a pleasant night in Septem- ber an extra flight had to oe added in haste to accommo- date the travellers. A mid-September Czechoslo- vak Airlines flight from Prague to Montreal and New York was filled almost to ca- pacity. At a .rough guess, about 30 per cent of the pas- sengers left the plane at Montreal, the rest going on to New York. Most were Czecho- slovaks. STREETCARS CROWDED Rush-hour traffic within cit- ies has a familiar look to Ca- n a d i a n eyes. Autos are bumper to bumper. Buses and streetcars are crowded. Even at non-rush-hour times, it's often standing room only on streetcars in Prague, possibly because fares are comparatively cheap or because many peo- ple don't own autos. A ride anywhere in Prague, with free transfers to connecting lines, costs one Czech crown. That's the North American equivalent of less than 15 cents measured by the official exchange rate of seven CHRISTMAS HOLIDAY 70 IN SUNNY SPAIN COSTA DEL SOL Plus MADRID From Calgary Dec. 19th, Return Jan. 3rd, 1971 FROM CANADIAN Book now for this fabulous holiday. Write, Phone or Call In for Free Brochure, CANARY ISLANDS, MADRID and CASABLANCA (Morocco) 21 departures commencing October 1st, 1970 through April 29th, 1971 CANADIAN WE HIGHLY RECOMMEND THIS TOURI Book Now for Autumn Departures! 21-DAY HOtlDAY Alt INCLUSIVE GOING HOME FOR CHRISTMAS? Book Your Reservation Now For: Time Airway Air Canada Canadian Pacific ________-WhMo Scats Arc Still ALL INQUIRIES WELCOME! A.M.A. WORLD TRAVEL SERVICE 903 3rd Avc. S. Phono 328-1771 crowns to the U.S. dollar or less than seven cents under the tourist rate of 15.75 crowns to the dollar. One well-travelled Czech says the latter rate is a better reflec- tion of domestic living costs. Rents are low compared to Canada. One man estimated his cost for better-than-aver- age apartment accommoda- tion, including heat, light and telephone, at" 450 crowns a month. The dollar comparison is about at the official rate, less than at the tour- ist rate. This man, however, felt food costs are high. Domestic beer and liquors are comparatively cheap. But imported spirits, like scotch, are priced far beyond the av- erage man's reach. ROCK MUSIC BLARES As in Canada, rock music blares from the radios and the young people like it. Many of the songs are in English. TJ.S.-made movies are popular in the theatres, either with dubbed dialogue or Czech sub- titles. There are a few hitch-hikers on the highways, but they aren't as numerous as in Can- ada. Many a boy carries the familiar guitar. Few of the boys wear long are close-cropped. Beards are scarce. Both young and old are seen at services in Roman Catholic churches. The one striking dif- ference from Canada is an ab- sence of young children. The liturgy, in Czech, appears to follow the same form as in1 Canadian churches. Like most of Europe, Czech- oslovakia has been bursting at the. seams with tourist traffic this year, and not a hotel room was to be had at Brno, a city of in the central part of the country, during the Brno International Trade Fair. All year the problem has been to provide adequate services of all kinds for trav- ellers, said Jiri Kaspar, press representative of the Czech committee for tourism. Interviewed at the Brno trade fair, he said the situa- tion is further complicated by the Czechoslovaks' liking for travel within their awn coun- try. Estimates are for 40 mil- lion such local travellers in 1970, more than 2'A times the country's population. BOOM CAME The post-war travel surge didn't reach Czechoslovakia