Polish hotel industry enjoys positive outlookPublished: 08.02.2016
Polish hotels industry may count on further growth and development in 2016. Foreign guests will likely account for way above 20% of the total figure. Poland should enjoy a bigger popularity as a medical tourism destination, while online reviews published by hotel guests should gain more importance, shows a report prepared by booking firm Profitroom and consultancy Deloitte.
Poland is becoming an increasingly popular destination for foreign tourists, according to the authors of the report. Foreigners will likely account for significantly more than 20% of all hotel guests this year. This trend is connected to the decline in tourists' safety in some locations previously deemed to be safe.
“Further, one should note that there is also a lot of interest in Poland in the field of medical tourism which has become an effective way for many facilities in Poland to gain recognition. Thanks to the development of services connected to broadly understood healthcare, Poland is visited by some 350k foreigners (mostly from Germany, UK, Sweden, Russia) who get medical procedures or treatments in Poland,” the report reads.
Internet vital for choosing accommodation
Opinions of to-date hotel guests are becoming more and more important for choosing accommodation, according to the study. An average internet user browses as many as 18 websites before booking a stay at a given hotel, including review websites or profiles on social media.
Poland ranks #18 among the most visited countries worldwide and takes the 11th place in Europe, according to the Polish Tourism Organization (POT). As many as 220 mln tourists visited the country in the past 15 years.
These guests come above all from Germany, Czech Republic, Ukraine, Slovakia and Belarus. The top 10 include also the UK and the Netherlands.
“Two years ago the ‘Poland’ brand made it to the 20 most expensive brands in the world,” POT's president Rafal Szmytke says. “The strength of the brand lies in its recognizability; Poland hosted many global-scale events such as the UEFA Euro 2012, Volleyball Men's World Championship (2014), Polish presidency in the EU (2011) or climate summits in Poznan (2008) and Warsaw (2013). In 2010, we strongly promoted Frederic Chopin abroad, while last year the International Chopin Piano Competition took place in Warsaw.”
Tourist numbers surge by over a million in 2 years
In 2014, 16 mln foreign tourists visited Poland, up by over 1 million from 2012, confirming the clear upward trend in arrivals, POT president stressed. In 2013-2014, the increase amounted to 1.3%, while 2015 was even better in this respect.
In the nine months of 2015, the number of tourists staying at accommodation facilities offering 10+ places approached 4.5 mln, an over 4% rise on the same period of 2014, according to POT. Germans constituted the biggest share of this group at almost 1.2 mln (or more than one-fourth of the total) – an increase by more than 6% y/y. The British ranked second as over 300k tourists from the UK visited Poland in January-September 2015 (up by more than 11% y/y).
The Czech Prague is the biggest regional competitor, Szmytke notes. “We are lagging behind Prague somewhat, in geographical and technical terms,” he said. “For tour operators, it is easier to set up a Budapest-Vienna-Prague triangle. We are trying to include Cracow, but it is not that easy technically. Our neighbors have strong brands, but the world is changing. France is the most touristic country, while Paris – the most touristic city. The question is whether this state of affairs will continue; a threat to security is one the main barriers for the development of tourism.”
More conferences organized in Poland
The development of the Polish tourism, closely linked to Poland's image, is influenced by such factors as improving road, air travel or hotel infrastructure, POT president stressed. “The so-called MICE industry, i.e. conferences or business trips, is a gigantic part [of the market],” he said. “Poland boasts one of the most modern bases for holding such events. We see a lot interest in organizing conferences in Poland.”
Despite the huge potential, Poland needs to continuously strengthen promotion of the country abroad. “Tourists who visit Poland are very positively surprised by what they find here,’ Szmytke said. “The share of positive opinions, which are reflected in declared readiness to come again or recommend a visit to Poland to friends, reaches even 90%. Unfortunately, our image abroad remains much worse than what the visitors actually find. We do not have to embellish anything or stretch the truth, it is enough to show the interesting things we have.”
Apart from promotion activities in the countries “most vital” for the Polish tourism, i.e. Germany and neighbouring states, POT will also run a campaign in the US in 2016, where it will focus on American businesses and MICE.
Source - Polish Press Agency, Economic Service