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The Warsaw Voice » Real Estate » February 23, 2010
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安i皻okrzyskie: More Than a Tongue Twister
February 23, 2010   
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The 安i皻okrzyskie region, which lies in the 安i皻okrzyskie Mountains, one of the oldest mountain ranges in Europe, is not only abundant in natural beauty but also has an ambitious development program-thanks in large part to funding from the European Union.

Some 1.29 million people live in the region. The unemployment rate is 14 percent. Kielce is the region's capital and has a population of 208,000. The city is known for the Targi Kielce trade fairs, second only to the Pozna International Fair.

Targi Kielce accounts for some 17 percent of all trade fairs held in Poland. Targi Kielce, founded in 1992, is a member of UFI, the Global Association of the Exhibition Industry, and the Centrex International Exhibition Statistics Union, the top exhibition industry organization in Central and Eastern Europe. Targi Kielce has at its disposal the second largest exhibition area in the country. It is the only fair organizer in Poland which has use of a special area next to the exhibition halls to display heavy building, transport and military equipment. Therefore, dependent on the type of trade fair, this area can be turned into a military exercise ground for display of weaponry or into a temporary building site presenting the latest in construction machinery.

The Kielce exhibition grounds host a trade fair once a week. Four years ago Targi Kielce decided to widen the scope of its operations and organized Eastern European versions of some of its exhibitions in Ukraine. The firm plans to spend a total of zl.167 million in 2010-2014 on investment and modernization. Some of this money is to come from European Union structural funds.

The 安i皻okrzyskie region has huge development potential. Eligibility for European Union funding and local government efforts have led to a closer look at the region's investment needs. These include better infrastructure to support firms' development, the creation of favorable conditions for the development of innovative sectors that take advantage of new technology, and modern management and distribution systems for products and services. Of great importance is how to finance small and medium-sized firms, in particular via the development of guarantees, credit facilities and other methods such as high-risk funding and family loans.

Poland, as a member of the European Economic Area, takes advantage of funding via two financial mechanisms: the EEA Financial Mechanism and the Norwegian Financial Mechanism. Poland's eastern regions, including the 安i皻okrzyskie region, receive a large chunk of the financing. The 安i皻okrzyskie region also receives funding from the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development.

The Kielce region's mineral wealth has resulted in a thriving industry for the production of building materials. Cement and lime production are among the region's most profitable industries. The Dyckerhoff cement works, the Trzuskawica lime works, Lafarge Cement Polska, the Dolina Nidy and Nida-Gips gypsum works, and the O瘸r闚 Cement Works are among the region's fastest growing firms and are renowned throughout Poland. The region is also home to industries such as metallurgy (Ostrowiec 安i皻okrzyski), metal industry (Skar篡sko-Kamienna), and machine production (Starachowice), in addition to the ceramic, foundry and energy sectors.

Just a small area of the region is taken up by industry; the remainder is given over to environmentally-friendly sectors such as production of organic foodstuffs. The region's farmland is free from fertilizers, pesticides, heavy metals and other industrial pollutants. Mineral-water sources have resulted in the establishment of health spas in Busko Zdr鎩 and Solec Zdr鎩.

Two-thirds of the 安i皻okrzyskie region has exceptional natural assets, which are officially protected. In this regard, the region ranks top in Poland. Natural assets include the 安i皻okrzyski National Park, 69 nature reserves, nine landscape parks, 712 natural monuments, and areas included in the Natura 2000 network of protected European nature sites. The Kielce region has been known for years as excellent for bird watching and rock climbing. The province also holds traces of Neolithic and Paleolithic settlements, a remarkable tourist attraction.

Tourist facilities in the region cannot satisfy demand, particularly for inexpensive accommodation such as chalets, hostels, camp sites or private rooms. On the other hand, the region does have over 370 agritourist centers, which are becoming better equipped and attract scores of visitors interested in this type of vacation.
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