With amazing “scenic rural areas that keep many traditions alive” (Hall, Lew, Timothy, 2008, 118), wildlife, modern buildings and a distinctive Polish cuisine, the experience economy is becoming more important to Poland because this is what helps bring tourists into an area. With over 15,000 overnight tourists travelling annually to Poland (UNWTO, 2016, 8), it's important to keep the experience economy alive.
Referring to the concept of mobilities, the world has become more accessible for all due to the increase of technology, transportation and communications, allowing tourists to travel further distances at a faster speed due to a “shrinking world.” (Urry, 2000) Although this makes travelling and getting involved in global social events easier for tourists, it also means places are becoming more like each other, offering similae shops, styles of fashion and so on. Poland has overcome this, however, by making its experience economy more diverse than other countries by making use of the natural and cultural resources.
This website talks about the positives and negatives of holding a cultural festival in Poland, referring to its transportation, resources and whether it’s a viable destination altogether for such an event.
Poland’s main form of transportation around the country is the use of roads. There are over 380,000km of roads around Poland, 55,000km of these being paved for pedestrians as well as 1,000km of the total being motorways or expressways. (EuroRap, 2015)
Tourists can travel to/around Poland through the airport system. There are 126 airports as well as 6 heliports around the country (Central Intelligence Agency, 2013), which makes Poland more accessible for travellers because flights can go inbound or outbound.
Another way tourists can transport around Poland is by the 19,837km of railway systems. (Central Intelligence Agency, 2013) With over 5 railway stations around Poland, tourists would be able to visit various cities during their stay. Figure 4 clearly illustrates the railway network around Poland, as well as some of the networks connected outside the country’s borders.
Figure 5 shows transportation systems over Poland, including tramway and the underground/metro systems, that tourists can use.
Resources, Attractions and Events
Wroclaw European City of Culture 2016
Wroclaw entered to be the European City of Culture to make people aware of the "unusual, tragic and intriguing" (Wroclaw 2016, 2016) historic story. World War 2 had both a physical and emotional impact on the city, and a new city was born post-war. Wroclaw wants to show people how ruins can grow to become a city with culture and aspirations, and without culture, civilisation can't develop. (Wroclaw 2016, 2016)
The City of Krakow
Designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site (Hall et al, 2008, 118) and Best European City Trip 2014 (Embassy of the Republic of Poland in Yerevan, 2014) the city is known for its medieval atmosphere. There are a range of culture attractions such as the Market Square, the Cloth Hall and the Wawel Castle. (Boniface et al, 2012, 325) Krakow attracts around 3 million domestic and outbound tourists annually and offers over 3,000 historical monuments around the city. (UNESCO World Heritage Sites, 2016)
The Baltic Coast
The Baltic Coast was first established in Ancient Times, and offers 500km of beaches and lagoons, which is backed by pine forests. Although the coast is known to be cloudy and windy, it accounts for 1/3 of overnight holidays because tourists say the coast is "by far the most popular destination." (Boniface et al, 2012, 324) In cases of bad weather, tourists can explore various lighthouses situated along the coast. The lighthouse in Rozewie was found to be the most famous in 2014, which had 102,000 visitors. (Kruczek, 2015, 50)
Auschwitz Concentration Camp
Auschwitz is the largest concentration camp of World War 2 where 1.5 million Jews (and other minorities) were tortured. The camp attracts dark tourism and is one of Poland's "most important heritage destinations." (Hall et al, 2008, 118) Auschwitz opened as a tourist attraction instantly after the war in 1945, and has since had more than 44 million visitors from all over the world. (Auschwitz, 2015a) The highest number of tourists to visit the concentration camp has so far been in 2014, where there were 1.5 million visitors. The top place where tourists came from was Poland itself, accounting 398,000 of visitors. (Auschwitz, 2015a) Figure 6 shows the income that is generated by the camp. (Auschwitz, 2015b)
The Tradition of Easter
The Polish religion believes eggs are to be blessed because they “symbolise life and have the power to ward off evil spirits.” (Polska, 2016a) Eggs are decorated with colourful patterns to celebrate this aspect of Polish culture.
Due to Poland cohosting Euro 2012 with Ukraine, the Polish national team were guaranteed a spot in the group stage of the tournament. Despite not making it through to the knockout stages, the team put on a good performance and the tournament was a great success. It was a major highlight for Poland's sporting events and brought an outstanding atmosphere to the country. (UEFA EURO 2012, 2016)
Thinking of Holding a Cultural Festival in Poland?
When holding any type of event in Poland, it should fit in with the culture of the country. Involving the history of World War 2 would be beneficial to make the world aware of how the country has built its reputation up. Polish cuisine would also be a good way to improve tourists' knowledge of the culture. Polish cuisine involves prawns in cream and “the classics like Steak Tatare, herring served with a shot of iced vodka…” (Polska, 2016d)
The time of the festival is important to consider because it needs to be in tourism season where tourist numbers are high. This will attract large numbers of tourism because they will be looking for a place to travel or vacate to in their spare time.
The place of the festival should either be in a place where there are vast numbers of tourists, or low numbers of tourists. In 2015, it was recorded that the Malopolskie province had the highest numbers of tourists. (Central Statistical Office of Poland, 2016, 240) This would be beneficial to further increase numbers. However, it may also be beneficial to hold a cultural festival in Opolskie, where it had the lowest number of tourists in 2015. (Central Statistical Office of Poland, 2016, 240) This would help boost tourism and get more income generating.
"...tourists can penetrate the secrets of nature and enjoy the richness of Polish culture in various types of sceneries located across the country..." (Polska, 2016c)
Poland is a country worth visiting or even to be the venue for holding a cultural festival. With modern buildings, various sceneries and distinctive attractions throughout the city, Poland can show its culture off to tourists and prove how it's possible to develop new life from the ruins that were left in 1945. It's easy for tourists to get involved with the culture of Poland by getting involved with The Jewish Culture Festival and being the European City of Culture 2016.