Filip Frydrykiewicz, Turystyka.rp.pl: Are you glad that we went out to the Euro?
Rafał Szmytke: (laughing) As a fan, of course I am not happy.
But thanks to the tournament, one more team abroad is playing and that means more foreign fans will come. From the perspective of the agency responsible for promoting Poland is very valuable.
Before the tournament we adopted the conservative assumption that the Poles will be indifferent to the championship, we were feared that they will reject it – they will leave the cities, the streets will be left for fans. Meanwhile, I observe the opposite. All people refer to the event with great enthusiasm, they are friendly in relation to foreigners visiting the country, As a result we confirm the opinion of our hospitality. In this context I worry less that the Polish team did not play any longer.
I am satisfied with the Euro, because this tournament cures our complex, a feeling that we are at the far end ... I do not know what. Even the foreign guests recounted to me that the Poles told them that they are proud that this event takes place here. This is a new quality, because so far most Poles say what they do not like in Poland or something goes wrong. Only the mass arrival of foreigners and their enthusiasm makes us aware that we have strengths as a country and society.
The Poles felt proud that they are organizers of major international event.
The more foreign fans and media attention, the better they get to know us?
This is confirmed by the relations of foreign media, which appreciate the preparation of the cities and stadiums very well, our organization, and even the communication infrastructure. They are surprised, because they have met "more and better" than they expected. Poles often like to complain and split hairs, but from a foreign perspective, this looks different.
I am convinced that we have achieved our goal - the image of Poland is changed for better.
We lost the Euro and what will be in tourism?
Polish tourism has already won, the result of the Polish team did not have the big impact. Even I will say half-jokingly, it would be rude to win this tournament by the home teams.
I'm so uplifted that Poles are very pleased to keep track of events, even after our team dropped out, they go to the matches of other representations. This is a new quality in Polish society - we learned that we can have fun on the big sports events.
This is also important to the fact so far in the West a stereotype of Pole alluded to sad traditionalist, attached to the church, which would be associated with the lack of freedom and frankness.
Yes it is, as I said our image and tourism have already won. We are on good track to be at the forefront of the European countries the most visited by tourists.
And how do you assess the cooperation POT with the hosts-cities and regions in the tourism promotion on the occasion of the championship? I heard on the sidelines of POT complaining about the lack of preparation regions for the role.
We cooperate with cities very well. At the stage of preparation we held many meetings where we arranged joint actions so as promotion of Poland led by POT would be consistent with the promotion of the various host-cities and Cracow. That was it. We learned a lot on this occasion, and now it will be easier to persuade the Polish Tourism Organization governments to act together.
We should also mention the great effort which POT and local governments of smaller cities put into organizing Fun City Tour. With five mobile fan zones, we managed to avoid the situation that the Euro is an event of the four cities, and the rest of the country is just looking at them. We invited to this great event almost one hundred cities where are less than 300 000 inhabitants.
Particular cities-hosts organize tourist programs for foreign journalists, including a brief study trips around the city and the surrounding area, they organize conferences and equip with handouts. This time it was not necessary to explain these cities that they have a chance to appear in the foreign media. They have already known it and I am confident that they will make the most of the fact that they are the hosts.
This confirmed the opinion that the fan is not a good customer for the tourism industry. That is the guy who only goes to the match, drinks lots of beer, staying overnight at the lowest price or even without sleeping after a party he gets over.
Of course, sporting event has its own rules, fan comes to have fun, but I should not generalize. Let’s see the incidents with fans behaving inappropriately is a small percentage, considering the whole mass.
I must say that in Warsaw, The Warsaw Uprising Museum and National Museum recorded a multiple increase of tourist attendance.
Even if they are polite fans, will they return as tourists to Poland or will they persuade their friends to trip?
We were not assumed that these people who come to the Euro, are particularly active tourists. For us the most important thing is that they could go back to each other with good impressions, because then they take a fancy to visit Poland again, among friends they will spread a positive opinion about Poland.
Sociological studies which were done during the championship among fans have already shown the facts - more than 80 percent of visitors said they pledge willingness to return and over 90 percent said they will recommend our country on vacation to a friend.
But the balance of the championship will be positive for tourism? Euro pulled away people from travel in three weeks, even weekends, over the sea, Masuria or in the mountains. People chose watching matches in the zones of fans, in pubs, at homes.
I read an article that shopping malls will lose because of the Euro, because "in the afternoon on match days the shops are empty". It ignores the fact that it is biased, because no one wrote in the morning shopping centers are bursting at the seams, but it cannot be reason.
I am confident that the tourism industry has already gained thanks to the championship, because looking at a whole, it is very important as a country is perceived and in fact whether it is perceived. Does anyone know anything about Poland? How does his image look like?
Our position in the rankings of the attractiveness after the Euro will increase. Coupons from the promotion being done on this occasion will be cut off in the future and that do not concern to the coming holidays (although I wonder this year's statistics) but to next year and several years.
Recently publication about actions of POT in the years 2010 – 2011 has been published. They are listed the various initiatives to promote Poland - from the issuance of spots in the Western television companies, by the presence on the international tourism fair in Berlin as the partner country to the organization of study visits in Poland for foreign journalists and even for the influential bloggers.
Yes, and we started very systematically, from research in several markets, which showed that the image of Poland there is very dull - just mention that we have the opinion of the north country, so cold almost like Siberia, and post-communist as a former Soviet (!) republic.
Changing ingrained stereotypes requires a lot of money and organizational effort. On the other hand when someone has come to usdodaj komentarz | Komentarze:
German daily newspapers report that it started to cloud over Polish economy, which had recently begun to shrink. They compare today’s recession with the crisis of 2009 and claim that the situation today is even worse than it was. According to today’s German daily newspaper Handelsblatt – the country, thought to be the economy engine, does not produce anymore steam. Poland, being the only European Union county which was not affected by the world crisis in 2009, is apparently losing the economy burst. According to the data from Central Statistical Office – the GDP of the third quarter of this year increased in no more that 0,4 percent in comparison to the previous quarter. It was not so bad even in critical 2009 – during the world economy crisis. During the downturn, when all EU countries were in recession, Polish GDP increased in 1,7 percent. The daily reports that according to the Central Statistical Office the situation is getting even worse due to significant reduction in domestic demand that used to be a driving factor for economic growth in Poland, which rate was immensely higher than the average one in EU. In the meantime, according to media reports, the majority of Poles are afraid of upcoming crisis , save up and drastically cut expenditures. As stated in an article published in Financial Times Deutschland, the fact that quantity of foreign orders and employment increased in comparison with the previous month – will not have a notable impact on the existing situation.
According to the Portuguese weekly newspaper Expresso - Poland is a gate for investors from Portugal, who are planing to invest in Ukraine, Lithuania, Belarus and Russia.
The newspaper notes that Polish economy has achieved immensly good results. The average growth of GDP in Poland between 2003 and 2008 was 5.2% annually. Meanwhile, in 2009 Poland was the only country which avoided recession.
It is also mentioned that the values of Portuguese Investments in Poland are systematically growing. The newspaper reports that the values of the investments between 2007 and 2011 continued to grow and increased to 721 millions of euro.
Slawomikr Nowak, the Minister of Transport, Construction and Maritime Economy, declared that a trip from Wroclaw to Warsaw in 2014 will take 3,5 hours. This means that a journey from the capital to Czestochowa will take 2 hours, which is more than one hour faster than it is today. The trip duration from Gdynia to Warsaw will also be reduced. About 1 billion PLN will be spent for renovation and revitalization of train stations.