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The Warsaw Voice » Regional Voice » September 2, 2011
The Lower Silesia Voice
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Drawing Visitors From Around the World
September 2, 2011   
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Rafał Jurkowlaniec, Marshall of Lower Silesia, talks to Barbara Deręgowska about the region’s role as a venue for international events.

What’s Lower Silesia like in the summertime?
The region teems with life in summer. This summer, at the end of July, we were visited by several thousand expatriate Poles who permanently live abroad. They took part in the 15th World Summer Polonia Games, a sports event for Polish communities abroad. A special Polonia Assembly was held on this occasion at Ksi±ż Castle. The games’ opening ceremonies at the Centennial Hall in Wrocław were attended by Senate Speaker Bogdan Borusewicz. The event was preceded by a 1-mile run at the Olympic Stadium in Wrocław that attracted both competitive athletes and amateurs from Wrocław and across the region; many tourists also took part. I joined the race as well.

Different venues across Lower Silesia hosted the games. Individual events were held not only in the region’s capital Wrocław, but also in the towns of Sobótka and Krzyżanowice. Additionally, mini-games for children and teenagers were held for the first time. During the eight-day Polonia Games, more than 1,600 athletes from a few dozen countries competed in 27 events, including soccer, swimming, track-and-field events, cycling and equestrian sports. The games were a real success, although the weather was disappointing at the beginning. But the turnout was high and a music concert by the Golec brothers attracted a large audience. I hope the athletes will return to Lower Silesia as tourists.

What other large international sports events is the province planning to organize?
We are especially interested in hosting large international events and not only those associated with the Euro 2012 soccer championships. In February next year, the mountain resort of Jakuszyce will host a series of World Cup competitions for cross-country skiers to be attended by the world’s top cross-country skiers, including Poland’s Justyna Kowalczyk. This will give us an excellent opportunity to promote Lower Silesia in live TV reports throughout Europe. We are going to use these two large events in our promotional campaigns. We want to showcase Lower Silesia as a place where it is worth organizing such events and a place that is worth visiting. Especially as our region has an excellent location directly bordering on the Czech Republic and Germany. A new terminal for international flights will open at the airport in Wrocław in December. And Berlin airport is not far away. Our road connections with other European countries are also improving.

Lower Silesia is also known for its important cultural events. Which of them are best known internationally?
The annual Wratislavia Cantans international oratorio festival in Wrocław draws thousands of outstanding artists and music lovers from around the world, and the same is true of the Nowe Horyzonty (New Horizons) international film festival.

This year’s Nowe Horyzonty has just ended. A total of almost 500 films were shown during the festival, attracting a combined audience of more than 115,000, along with accompanying exhibitions and music concerts. Crowds of film lovers and filmmakers from across the world visited Wrocław to take part in the festival. They all stayed in the city and went on sightseeing tours around Lower Silesia. This was an excellent promotion for the region.

Also worth mentioning is the Brave Festival, an international theater event that brings together a different kind of audience.

All these events attract visitors from around the world to Lower Silesia.
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