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  1. ITV Report

The Czech Republic wants a catchier new name

A rose by another other name would smell as sweet? Czech leaders want a new national title Credit: Reuters

The hot new tourist destination this summer could be Czechia - but it's not a undiscovered gem but a planned new name for the Czech republic.

Leaders including the president and prime minister have thrown their weight behind plans to adopt a catchier one-world alternative.

They hope that it will boost national branding - but some have raised concerns that it could lead to confusion with the conflict-ridden separatist state of Chechyna.

Critics have also pointed out that the state has already spent $40 million on a promotion campaign in the country's current name, meaning a switch could be eye-watering expensive.

Supporters say the new official short name could boost national branding Credit: Reuters

The proposals came from a desire for a snappy national brand that could be used by politicians, sports teams, companies and for tourism branding.

Other countries have similar shortenings, such as The French Republic, which is normally known by its more everyday moniker of France.

If the plans for the new short title are approved by the cabinet then Checkia will be submitted to the United Nations as an official short name.

Other countries which have changed their names:

  • Burma became Myanmar in 1989
  • Gold Coast named itself as Ghana in 1957
  • Rhodesia switched to Zimbabwe-Rhodesia in 1979 before settling on their current name Zimbabwe in 1980
  • The former Cape Verde became Cabo Verde in 2013
  • Abyssinia renamed itself as Ethiopia in 1941
  • The Dutch East Indies dropped their colonial title to become Indonesia in 1950
  • Ceylon switched to Sri Lanka in 1972

But the proposals have plenty of people scratching their heads.

Regional Development Minister Karla Slechtova has pointed out that the chosen new title could be confused with Chechnya in southern Russia, which is stricken by violence and Islamist uprising.

Chechnya is also known as a hotspot for violent kidnappings and is most definitely not on the tourism trail that the Czechs hope to capture.

Simon Anholt, an expert on how countries brand themselves, said a switch would cost billions of pounds worldwide - but he predicted the new name would never catch on.

I think if they try it will probably fail - nine times out of ten it does. It isn't even a good idea, it just confuses people. Countries are called what people call them - you can't change it.

The reason why people are confused about the Czech Republic isn't because it is a bad name - it's because it has no relevance to their lives.

There are so many more important things for a country to do than try to turn themselves into a soap powder.

– Simon Anholt, national branding expert

It's not the first time that the country has changed it's moniker - the former state of Czechosolvakia split into the Czech Republic and Slovakia in 1993.

There are also other possible alternatives to Czechia in current use.

In the Czech language the country already has a single word name - Cesko. Bohemia, the largest region of the country, is named Checy in Czech and is also often used to refer to the whole country.