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The Warsaw Voice » Special Sections » November 30, 2010
Tourism: Promoting Poland
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Tall Ship Promotes Poland
November 30, 2010   
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Last summer, the training tall ship Fryderyk Chopin and its mainly young crew of high school students combined an educational voyage with a major national goal: to promote Poland in countries around Western Europe. The ship’s voyage kicked off the Polish Tourist Organization’s “Promujmy Polskę Razem” (“Promoting Poland Together”) campaign.

“This is one of the biggest ever projects promoting Poland abroad,” said Rafał Szmytke, president of the Polish Tourist Organization (POT). “Its aim is to improve Poland’s image and help develop tourist services in the country.” POT received 30 million euros for the project, including money from the European Regional Development Fund.

The idea behind the voyage around Western Europe’s major ports was to consolidate Poland’s image as an attractive tourist destination and to win new markets for Polish tourist products. The aim of the brig’s summer cruise was to promote Poland’s tourist potential directly among the inhabitants of countries that are key markets for the promotion of Polish tourism.

During its three-month voyage, the tall ship visited 20 ports in seven countries: Germany, France, Britain, Sweden, Denmark, the Netherlands and Belgium. In the course of the trip, the crew included more than 100 people in total. The sailors spent over 700 hours at sea, and the ship covered more than 5,000 nautical miles.

Whenever the Fryderyk Chopin called at a port, the visit was accompanied by various attractions at the wharf, prepared with locals and tourists in mind. The most interesting events included group painting of pianos, a ballet show on the ship’s yards, concerts of Chopin’s music, a group lesson in dancing the polonaise, “dancing fountain” shows, fireworks displays, the Knowledge on Poland Academy and a tour of the ship.

The guests at these events painted a total of 72 pianos and made five statues of Chopin (in Stockholm, Kiel, Ostend, Nantes and London). Each statue was made from a different material associated with a given country; for instance in London the bust of Chopin was made from umbrellas. All the events were accompanied by tourist information points that interactively promoted Poland’s many tourist attractions. The individual port events were promoted through outdoor advertising (almost 3,800 billboards, posters and banners) and non-standard forms (416 ads on vehicles, including almost 300 on London taxicabs).

POT estimates that the campaign reached tens of thousands of people. Among the events, one that stands out as unprecedented was the breaking of the Guinness world record for the longest procession of people dancing the polonaise outside of Poland. This took place in London on Sept. 12 and involved more than 300 people.

The Polish tall ship’s visits to all the ports got a lot of publicity from foreign media. A total of 80 press articles inspired by the wharf events appeared in foreign papers. Apart from the ship itself, the stories focused on the young Poles taking part in the voyage. The promotion in Polish media was driven mainly by the dedicated TV program Polska na ¶niadanie (Poland for Breakfast), broadcast on public television’s TVP2 channel during the summer vacation. The voyage was also promoted intensively in networking media: the Chopin The Course profile on Facebook was “liked” by over 1,700 users, while 3,880 users of the NK (formerly Nasza Klasa) social utility added the profile Rejs ChopinTheCourse to their list of friends.

The mission of the Fryderyk Chopin’s young crew members—who were dubbed “ambassadors of Polish tourism”—was strongly connected with the slogans that dominate POT’s campaign. These words are closely correlated with the life of Poland’s greatest composer: passion, youth, music, Romanticism, freedom, and creativity. This message is augmented by a new graphic identity for Poland as a brand, presenting the diversity of the country’s tourist attractions, and by a new slogan promoting Poland: “Move your imagination.”

The “Promujmy Polskę Razem” campaign, planned for a total of three years, will conclude in 2012, the year of the European soccer championship in Poland. It runs in parallel with other events important for the international promotion of Poland, such as Chopin Year 2010 and Poland’s European Union presidency in 2011.
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