Praguetruffle: connecting truffles with tourism
In the past, truffles were collected commonly in the Czech lands and up to 50 kg was sold weekly in Prague markets. At the present time, truffle hunting is not allowed in most areas of the country. Therefore, the tradition of truffles in the Czech Republic is almost lost. Anyway, PragueTruffle aims to show to its customers the truffle hunting on a prepared training ground in Petřín Park and so does not harm the natural environment.
PragueTruffle aims to diversify the tourism offer in Prague, which represents one of the most famous tourist destinations around the world. The initiative provides a truffle (species: Tuber aestivum) hunting demonstration (with a dog) in the Petřín Park, that offers one of the best views of Old Town Prague. In addition to this experience, PragueTruffle customers receive contextual information about truffles as well as about Prague history, followed by a truffle dish in a luxury restaurant with a gorgeous view of Prague. At the end, the clients can take a fresh truffle as a gift.
PragueTruffle is becoming very popular and, every year attracts hundreds of tourists. Many of these tourists come from abroad, thanks to numerous partnerships with international tourism agencies and thanks to a very well-structured website. In fact, in its website, PragueTruffle supplies: (i) different and detailed proposes, including price and duration, (ii) an updated blog with interesting news concerning the truffle sector and attractions of Prague and (iii) a collection of customers’ opinions. Currently, PragueTruffle is one of the most appreciated experiences that the website Airbnb proposes in its platform.
Certainly, one of the main success factors of PragueTruffle is its comprehensive tourist offer, which includes a real truffle hunting experience (with a dog), a typical lunch/dinner in a local restaurant, and a truffle gift. This so complete offer can attract also many tourists, that, usually, are not so interested in the truffle sector. Probably, the opportunity to enjoy a nature-based experience, very close to Prague old Town, is another key factor of success of PragueTruffle.
Impacts and weaknesses
The initiative aims to disseminate and promote truffles and issues connected, like truffle hunting and its historical and environmental background. Public awareness is necessary for the sustainable development of this sector and its further thriving. The main weakness of the initiative can be linked to the fact that the Czech Republic is not a well-known country for truffle growing/collection and that is also what the initiative tries to address and improve. Furthermore, it's necessary to consider that the seasonality of truffle hunting respect to the needs of the tourism sector can be another weakness of the initiative.
Nowadays, there is a lack of initiatives dealing with the truffle sector in the Czech Republic. But it is possible that, in the context of the current climate-change trend, the conditions for truffle cultivating might get better. Moreover, there are especially several areas in the country with calcareous soils which are suitable for truffle growing. Therefore, there might be a room for further development of this sector and potential truffle growers and entrepreneurs could get together, including Praguetruffle, to make the sector more prosperous in the Czech Republic.