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The Warsaw Voice » Real Estate » May 14, 2008
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Hospitality Industry on the Rise
May 14, 2008   
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Poland's hospitality industry enjoyed its third consecutive positive year in 2007. The Polish economy faired well, with healthy growth, a high level of foreign direct investment, and unemployment falling to 11 percent. Arrivals to Poland in 2007 were up by around 5 percent to 16.7 million tourists.

Last year's occupancies continued to grow at a moderate level. Most major cites saw an increase of demand in the business and Meetings/Incentive Travel/Conferences/Events (MICE) sectors.

The good and the bad
The good news is that GDP growth was around 6.3 percent last year, unemployment went down to 11 percent, FDI approached 12.5 billion euros, wages rose by 11 percent, and inflation was manageable at 3.5 percent.

The Warsaw Stock Exchange grew from a market capitalization of 170 billion euros to 280 billion euros at the end of 2007. Eighty-one new companies were listed on the trading floor.

Poland won a bid to host the UEFA Euro 2012 European soccer championships jointly with Ukraine.

The bad news is the cost of energy increased, accompanied by higher costs of construction, a shortage of labor, inefficiency in infrastructure projects, and poor absorption of European Union funds.

Hospitality Industry Activity by City

Warsaw's overall occupancy rate was 72 percent (unchanged compared to 2006). The five-star hotel sector, however, experienced particularly healthy growth, with a 70-percent occupancy rate and average daily room rate (ADR) of 108 euros. Revenue per available room (RevPar) in the five-star hotel sector grew 11.3 percent year on year. This is a clear sign that the five-star segment is on the mend, particularly if we consider that the Hilton Warsaw opened in the middle of 2007.

New openings during 2007 included the new Hilton Warsaw and the Holiday Inn Conference and Spa Resort in Józefów near Warsaw.

Two five-star boutique hotels, a 400-room three-star System Hotel property, and a 250-room hotel are still to be opened at Okęcie Terminal.

In a major transaction in the hotel business last year, the Król Kazimierz Hotel in Kazimierz Dolny not far from Warsaw changed hands for 19 million euros.

Poznań showed the poorest results of all major cities in Poland. The occupancy rate for the city was 48.5 percent and the estimated ADR was 62 euros. Some experts say the city, the fifth largest city in Poland, needs to create a brand and a clear plan to promote itself. The four-star Andersia Hotel managed by BBI opened in September. A new NH Hotel and an Andel's property are on the way.

This city again showed great improvement on occupancy as well as RevPar in 2007, which came in at 67.8 percent. The hotel sector will continue to do well; the city has done a great job with its branding and promotion initiatives and also made a tremendous, albeit unsuccessful, effort in the bid to host the Expo 2012 World Exhibition.

New projects in the works are the 240-room Hilton five-star hotel and a new Sheraton project.

For the second year in a row, Cracow continued its growth in occupancy and RevPar, fairing best of all Polish cities. Across all hotel categories, an average occupancy rate of 77 percent was achieved, and an ADR of 87 euros. The five-star segment, however, produced figures of around 78 percent and 109 euros respectively.

A new 180-room Hilton Garden Inn is under construction, and at least three new hotels in the three- and four-star categories are expected to be built, including a new Park Inn Hotel.

The city continues to develop the hotel sector. The Manufaktura shopping center, the Special Economic Zone and manufacturing projects such as the Gillette factory and the opening of the Dell plant precipitated a great amount of business room nights in 2007. Across all sectors, the occupancy rate in Łódź was just over 54 percent, and the achieved average rate just under 53 euros. Łódź mayor Jerzy Kropiwnicki invested in the first ever BBC Worldwide campaign in September to attract more tourists to the city. This promotion campaign was called "Would You in Łódź?"

In a key transaction last year, the city's Grand Hotel was sold for 20 million euros.

A 167-room four-star Manufaktura Andel's Hotel will open in December this year. New Hilton and Campanile properties are in the works.

Gdańsk, Sopot and Gdynia (Tricity)
Gdańsk faired well in 2007 and showed an occupancy rate of 69 percent with an ADR of 77 euros.

A new 150-room Hilton is under construction, along with a Sheraton in Sopot, and a Radisson SAS in Gdańsk (which is scheduled to open in the first quarter of 2009).

This city is finally coming out of the doldrums, with a steady progression in occupancies and trading levels in the existing hotels. There is a newfound enthusiasm in the local business community, and the city's authorities are aggressively promoting Szczecin among both foreign and Polish investors.

The city finished 2007 with an occupancy rate of 60 percent at an ADR of 50 euros.

Trends and Forecasts
As the country prepares to host the Euro 2012 tournament, it needs to build some 2,000 km of new freeways in just 54 months. Poland also needs to repair and renovate another 2,000 km of roads around the six host cities. Forty new hotels need to be built.

Some 1.2 billion euros will be invested in the construction and modernization of stadiums, sports villages and training camps for the 16 teams. Poland will also invest 8 billion euros in roads, public transportation, security systems and signage. Some 2 billion euros will be invested in airports.

At least five cities will have modern stadiums with multi-use congress, conference and exhibition venues. These huge investment projects will continue a commercial life well after the Euro 2012 tournament.

Poland's entry to the Schengen zone late last year was a milestone event for the country. It will surely influence the positive flows of cross border visitors and business investments, hence the faster growth of the hotel sector in Poland.

EU infrastructure funds will be a key driver of the Polish economy, as will the growing low-cost airline traffic. Together, these forces will have a great impact on the accommodation business.

At least five major cities in Poland need to develop world-class multi-functional congress, conference and exhibition venues. These facilities are in fact required to help all sectors grow, not just hospitality, providing places where people can meet, show, trade and network. This is where hotel chains are being encouraged to invest and develop new facilities to cater to the MICE sector.

Gated communities, golf-and-country clubs and spas are just three types of products now coming to various regions of Poland.

There are optimistic horizons for globally branded two-, three- and four-star products in most regions, towns and cites.

Newly improved laws concerning tender procedures and land ownership should greatly improve Poland's ability to build much-needed roads and highways in the next five years.

Municipal governments are expected to accelerate the absorption of EU funds for infrastructure projects in their areas, combined with Euro 2012 projects, and the country should see a speedier rate of construction of roads, highways, airports, bridges and railway lines. The demand for hotel rooms and hospitality services is expected to grow at an annual rate of 6.5 percent to 7.5 percent.

Alex Kloszewski Director of the Hospitality Department at Colliers International
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