The tourism potential of Eastern Poland, investment incentives and the fact that the sector is really important to the local government create exceptional conditions encouraging to invest in the region. For several years, the number of foreign tourists visiting Poland has been falling. Also, the participation of Poles in tourist trips has decreased. The main motive of visiting our country is business. Only every fourth foreigner comes to our country for purely tourist reasons and almost all CIS citizens come here to do shopping rather than sightseeing. However, the Poles themselves travel around the country mainly for tourism and they prefer longer stays. The average foreign tourist expenditure is $ 353 per person. Despite the temporary decline in tourism associated with the crisis, European Championship EURO 2012 may result in the recovery of the sector and the increase in budget revenues.
Eastern Poland tourism sector characteristics
In terms of employment, the tourism sector is one of the most important sectors of Polish economy. In Eastern Poland the sector employs over 38 thousand people and the number is growing. Subcarpathian Voivodeship is at the forefront, and the smallest number of people are employed in the tourism sector of Podlaskie Voivodeship. On the territory of Eastern Poland there are 414 travel agencies.
Eastern Poland tourist facilities
The number of hotels in Poland is steadily growing. About 20% of Polish tourist accommodation base is located in five voivodeships along the eastern border. Due to its convenient location on the transit routes between Western and Eastern Europe, Eastern Poland is a perfect region for investment in the hotel industry. The region’s natural environment and agrotourism development are additional attractions. The most extensive range of accommodation can be found in Warmian-Masursian voivodeship, although much of it is seasonal. The situation is similar in other voivodeships of Eastern Poland with a little exception of the Świętokrzyskie voivodeship.
Investment incentives in the tourism sector in Eastern Poland – tourism development programmes
In accordance with the map of public aid, tourism sector investors can expect the highest possible levels of support under the EU funds. Projects may receive up to 50% of eligible costs. Support can be obtained under the Regional Operational Programmes. In addition, Lubelskie, Podlaskie and Warmian-Masurian voivodeships have launched separate aid programmes aimed at investors interested in the tourism sector. Grants can be used for the construction and upgrading of infrastructure, construction of new tourist products, theme parks, and renovation works.
Tourist Clusters in Eastern Poland
There are 59 clusters in Eastern Poland. 21 are located in Lublin Voivodeship.
Restaurateurs and Hoteliers cluster in Lublin
There are currently over 280 members in the cluster. About 180 of them are companies. Their aim is to improve business competitiveness and to strengthen the economic potential of the industry in the region, mainly through the dissemination of local cuisine, taking care of the highest level of services and training sessions for people involved in the hotel management sector.
Local Tourist Organisation “The Land of Loess Ravines” in Nałęczów
The organisation Includes the following municipalities: Janowiec, Kazimierz Dolny, Opole Lubelskie, Poniatowa Nałęczów, Wojciechów, Wąwolnica and Pulawy. The main objective of the organisation is to create an integrated information, promotion and tourist booking system, and to help its members get and use structural funds.
“The Sun of the Region” Tourism and Regional Development Cluster in Skarzysko-Kamienna
The cluster is supposed to implement new technologies in the tourism sector in Świętokrzyskie Voivodeship: computerisation of tourist enterprises, building the climate of trust and cooperation in achieving common business goals, information exchange, promotion of the development and innovation in the tourist trade.
There also such clusters as: “The Crystal of Europe” from Suwałki, Bieszczady Transborder Travel Cluster form Ustrzyki Dolne and agrotouristic association “Galician Agrotourist Farmhouses – Bieszczady “. All of them promote local tourism and the region.
Prospects for the development of tourism sector in Poland and Eastern Poland
According to forecasts, by 2013, the number of tourists visiting Poland for business reasons will have been growing. Travelling for purely tourist and shopping reasons will soon be in the background. Euro 2012 will have a significant impact on the revenues derived from tourism. The increase in foreign investment and business trips, the landscape and natural environment, which will attract the so-called eco-tourists, will definitely influence the development of tourism in Eastern Poland.