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The Warsaw Voice » Culture » January 21, 2009
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WDA: Year in Review
January 21, 2009   
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Last year was busy and productive for the Warsaw Destination Alliance as it promoted Warsaw both locally and internationally.

The WDA says it is proud of what it says is excellent cooperation with Warsaw City Hall and considers this to have been one of its major achievements in 2008.

It was quite a challenge to build good relations with the three core areas within the City of Warsaw, WDA managers say: the Mayor's Office, the Promotion Office, and the Convention Bureau. The WDA says it has proved to be a strong and valuable partner for City Hall.

Both the Warsaw Convention Bureau (WCB) and the WDA consider it essential to promote Warsaw together. That is why in 2008 they combined forces and together took part in trade fairs and exhibitions such as IMEX in Frankfurt, BTC in Rome, and EIBTM in Barcelona. The WDA also attended the Confex fair in London and EMIF in Brussels. At those fairs the WDA noted that congress planners were the most interested in hotel prices and flight costs and connections. Experts believe that, due to the current economic situation, price will remain one of the main criteria in choosing Warsaw over other destinations. The WDA forwarded inquiries to hotels for more than 34,000 room nights, mainly from convention organizers.

This year the WDA plans to participate in similar industry trade fairs abroad.

Last year the WDA successfully encouraged the following events to be held in Warsaw: the Congress of International Psycho-Oncology Society (2011), the EWEC European Wind Energy Conference (2011), and the WYSTS World Youth Student & Educational Travel Confederation (2011).

Some of the most important congresses to take place in Warsaw this year will include: the Congress of the European People's Party; the ESPCI European Symposium on Pediatric Cochlear Implantation; the EAACI European Academy of Allergology (Annual Congress); a FEAPA Federation of Associations of Pediatric Anesthesia meeting; and a EuroSpine-the Spine Society of Europe event.

The WDA welcomed 18 new members in 2008. They represent hotel and hospitality, tourism, PCO, DMC and event companies, in addition to the real estate, art, jewelry and health and beauty industries. Some of the major enterprises to join the WDA last year were TUI, which is one of the largest companies in the tourism sector, and public institutions such as the Polish Airports State Enterprise (PPL) and the National Sports Center.

In the area of PR and marketing, the WDA worked with journalists, and some of the projects in this area last year included coordinating the publication of three supplements about Poland and Warsaw in the Norwegian, Slovenian and British press; a competition in British music magazine Songlines; and a press trip to Warsaw by Russian female journalists. Additionally, the WDA funded advertisements in the travel trade press, and published its own two publications. These were a brochure about Warsaw for distribution at international fairs and among MICE planners, and the 1 Euro publication distributed in Warsaw hotels and informing tourists about the 1 euro donation that can be made to help market Warsaw.

The WDA organized two mixers that were attended by WDA members and partners from both the private and public sectors. The May Mixer promoted the United Buddy Bear project, and Michał Borowski, president of the National Sports Center, was the guest speaker who gave an overview of Poland's Euro 2012 preparations. The October Mixer featured Warsaw City Hall's campaign for Warsaw on BBC World, and Mayor of Warsaw Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz was a special guest. She received a special WDA award for her efforts in promoting Warsaw. A similar award went to Katarzyna Ratajczyk, director of the City Promotion Office.

In December 2008, WDA member hotels collected a total of zl 45,186 from voluntary levies from hotel guests. Since the beginning of the year, a total of zl. 702,373 has been collected.
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