The three main natural resources Poland has to offer are the Bieszczady National Park, the Lake Country of Pomorze and the Mazurian Lake District. (Poland Travel, 2016b) (Boniface, Cooper and Cooper, 2012). The National Park boundaries encircle the highest part of the Western Bieszczady Mountains, in the corner of Poland bordering on Slovakia and the Ukraine (Poland Travel, 2016c). The Lake Country of Pomorze has the old fortress of Malbork which was built by the Teutonic Knights (Boniface et al, 2012b). ‘The Mazurian Lake District is an area of forests, lakes and low hills of glacier drift’ (Boniface et al, 2012c)
The three key events this website will outline in Poland are Wroclaw – European City of Culture 2016, Polish Independence Day – 11th November and Suwalki Ski Rally (Poland Travel, 2016d) (BBC, 2016a). The European City of Culture is when The city (in the case Wroclaw) is ‘designated by the European Union for a period of one calendar year during which it organises a series of cultural events with a strong European dimension.’ (Poland Travel, 2016e). The Polish Independence Day is hosted every year on the 11th November to mark the day Poland became independent of foreign rule for over a century at the end of World War I (BBC, 2016b). Finally, the Suwalki Ski Rally, this event had its 38th Annual event in 2015 and the event run from the 16th January to the 31st January. (Poland Travel, 2016f).
Evaluation of travel flows to and within the country (analysis of visitor statistics)
Poland gains most of its contribution to GDP from Travel and Tourism in the form of Leisure Spending, this is where 77.8% of the contribution comes from, the other 22.8% is from Business Spending (WTTC, 2016a). Domestic Spending was recorded at 31.7% last year with the total spend of people visiting the country being at 68.3% (WTTC, 2016b). Overall Poland rank 44th in the world for their Travel and Tourism contributions to their GDP with $8 billion directly contributing to it, neighbouring countries have contributions between $0.4 billion and $4.6 billion. However, Germany are ranked 3 with $130.7 billion directly. (WTTC, 2016c).
Domestic travel trends
Domestic travel trends could be anything such as when people go on holiday within their own country or just on day visits. Within Poland 19,614,000 people travelled domestically for overnight stays in 2014 (OECD, 2016a). This figure is over one million more than the previous year and over 3 million in comparison to 2010 (OCED, 2016b). From the table from the e-book it is clear to see that over the period of 2010-2014, the Polish citizens started to use their own country more for holidays. this could be beneficial in hosting an event there because someone could use reports such as this one and the one from the World Travel and Tourism Council to see where in the country people enjoy visiting.
Evaluation of transport to and within the country
Last year, Poland’s tourism rates increased, they had an overall percentage change of 4.6% more tourists coming into the country. This was due to the 16.728 million tourists who visited Poland within the year (UNWTO, 2016a). The region that Poland is located in is Europe, Europe had 594.1 million tourists visit last year (UNWTO, 2016b).
In Poland there is many different ways of getting around the country and also to the country. Getting the train around the country is the most popular for travellers to Poland (Polrail, 2016a), this is because parking and traffic from residents of the country is a problem (Polrail, 2016b). The company also claim that 'travel by train is still the most comfortable and convenient' (Polrail, 2016c). Another way of getting around the country is the domestic airline system. this has been growing over the past several years, most airports in Poland now run a domestic flight to the capital city (Warsaw) and Warsaw has a domestic flight back to all of these cities. the major airports such as; Gdansk, Krakow and Wroclaw all run flights to other airports other than Warsaw. (Poland Travel, 2016g)
A case study on something distinctive/special about the country’s tourism/events
UEFA European Championships 2012 is the chosen case study for this website, this is because it is the biggest event Poland have hosted in recent years and it attracted a lot of attention from countries all over Europe. This case study was selected because it is unique for Poland to host big sporting events. Poland had not hosted the UEFA European Championships or The FIFA World Cup before they got to host the UEFA European Championships in 2012 (UEFA, 2012).
The UEFA European Championships is a Mega-event which is an event which is recognised by the world and can be watched live usually by a live stream or on television. The UEFA European Championship ‘had a TV audience of over 1 billion, with 150 million people watching every game (on average). This media exposure was particularly important for Poland - a country with a virtual lack of an international image.’ (Dembek and Wloch, 2014). From this journal article it is clear to see that Poland’s International image was improved from them hosting the UEFA European Championships.
The main problem in Poland before the UEFA European Championships in 2012 was not the fact their international image was negative, it was more the lack of an international image in the first place (Dembek and Wloch, 2014b). in a study that was conducted by TNS OBOP ‘over half of the respondents in the Czech Republic, Ukraine, Russia, and Germany knew something about Poland, but at the same time 82% of the Dutch, 72% of the British and 62% of the French know nothing or very little about the country’ (Dembek and Wloch, 2014c) before the UEFA European Championships in 2012.
An evaluation of the events and tourism industry in the country (SWOT analysis)
A few strengths Poland has in the way of tourism and events is the number of cultural and natural resources the country has. These can be found further up the website in the sections titled Cultural Resources and Natural Resources. Another strength Poland has is a good rail system (Polrail, 2016d). This is good because there is a lot of road congestion in Poland. Travelling by train in Poland is also quite popular (Polrail, 2016e).
Some of the weaknesses in Poland consist of the language barrier because Polish is the only language in the country that more than 20% of the country speaks. 95.15% of the residents in Poland speak Polish, the next most spoken language in Poland is English, in which only 19.85% of residents speak (Language Knowledge, 2016). Another Weakness is obviously the road congestion which is mentioned in the previous paragraph briefly, more people are now favouring using the rail system in Poland due to the road congestion, it is mostly tourists who use the rail system (Polrail, 2016f).
Poland has a huge amount of opportunity to host more Mega-events now after how well they did with the UEFA European Championships. Poland also has enough stadiums now to host the Mega-events as well, such as the UEFA European Championships again, the FIFA World Cup or the women’s version of either of these events. Poland have also hosted the European City of Culture in 2016 which could open up more doors for them to maybe host the event again in a different city as it is used to help regenerate a city. They could get more visitors internationally from being the European City of Culture because it has given Poland a new image and will make more people want to visit.
Some of the threats on the events and tourism industry is that people will only visit Poland for the purpose of an event or the purpose of a specific attraction such as Auschwitz. This means that not all the tourist attractions and all the events are viewed equally by people who are travelling to or even around Poland.
Key recommendations for the client arising from your research
The first recommendation would be to host a sporting event if they are planning to host an event. However, hosting a historical event would work well, this is because of the amount of heritage sites that Poland has to offer. Another recommendation would be that the client would be able to host a festival in the arenas that were made for sports. This would give a different feel to the event whilst providing a 360-degree view of the performer and provide enough seated and standing viewing.
To summarise, Poland is a good country to host a wide range of events but is most equipped to host sporting events such as Football. Poland also has a good amount of transport to attract tourists from all over the world with easy access from any other countries within the European Union as well as domestic travellers. The country also provides a rich amount of natural and cultural sites to visit whilst the tourist is visiting the clients event. Finally, Poland has a good climate for winter sporting events if the client wishes to host this type of event in the future.
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