The travel, tourism and hospitality sectors of the Polish economy are set to enjoy a windfall of spending during Poland’s EU presidency.
Poland’s government estimates the total cost of the presidency at around zł.430 million, much of which will be spent in the country on accommodating guests and ferrying them around Poland.
Some 30,000 EU administrative officials (who will all need accommodation) are expected to attend roughly 2,000 meetings (which will all need conference space) during the six-month period.
“With so many meetings of political officials and so many European experts, this will no doubt influence the development of the tourism industry in Poland,” said Witold Michałek, an economic expert at the Business Center Club (BCC). “Not only hotels, but also museums, concerts halls and the like.”
To illustrate how much was being spent on travel for events surrounding the presidency, Mr Michałek mentioned that at a recent conference he had attended, a whole train had been rented to transport people from Warsaw to Łódż.
Experts say the next several months should be particularly good for the hospitality industry, since the presidency will be followed up next summer by another event sure to bring in visitors – the Euro 2012 soccer tournament.
“Good times are ahead for the hospitality industry. Euro 2012 next summer will be another period of increased business for [hotels],” said Katarzyna Grzejszczyk from the Polish Chamber of Commerce (KIG).
“Apart from that, this is also a good time for Polish cities to promote themselves, first during the presidency and then during the soccer championships,” she added.
Polish Travel, a tourist agency, was selected by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to organize the booking and accommodation for the officials who will be visiting Poland.
“All in all, the Foreign Ministry anticipates about 30,000 to 45,000 room bookings, so that can give you an idea of the scale of the endeavor,” said Dariusz Pałęcki, head of Polish Travel.
Not only hotels
With the number of officials set to descend on Poland from now till December, airlines will also see increased business, especially those servicing the Warsaw-Brussels route. Taxi-drivers are also sure to transport more passengers and translation agencies should also be able to get a piece of the pie.
“Not only will the tourism industry benefit,” said the BCC’s Witold Michałek, “so will security agencies and even the Polish police. There is a marked increase in the police presence on the streets. They must have received a bigger budget for this.”
Precisely how much Polish businesses will gain from the presidency and what its total economic impact will be is anybody’s guess. But there’s no doubting that plenty of sectors will see a much-needed boost.