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The Warsaw Voice » Destination Warsaw » October 27, 2011
Destination Warsaw
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Getting Together to Promote Warsaw
October 27, 2011   
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Katarzyna Ratajczyk, director of the City Promotions Department at Warsaw City Hall and president of the Warsaw Tourist Organization (WOT), talks to Jolanta Wolska.

What is the role of the Warsaw Tourist Organization (WOT)? How distinct is it from other organizations like the Polish Tourist organization (POT), regional tourist offices and the City promotions Department at Warsaw City Hall?
WOT is the first organization of its kind in the history of Warsaw. It brings together a number of governmental, nongovernmental, local and private organizations that have formally joined forces to promote Warsaw. This will make it possible to better exchange information at the basic level and help coordinate projects to make them more effective.

WOT is a nongovernmental tourist organization established by a group of interested institutions and companies. The City of Warsaw is one of its 15 founding members.

All members are equal, although the City of Warsaw pays the highest membership fee. For several years the Warsaw Destination Alliance had been active in helping to get WOT off the ground. I would like to thank WDA president Alex Kloszewski for his involvement and work to establish this organization.

What are WOT’s aims?
At our first inaugural WOT meeting earlier this year we decided to put the greatest emphasis on MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences & Events). That is because this activity is very good and natural for Warsaw, as we are a business-oriented city, with increasingly better attractions for people and many places to meet. As an initial step we want to prepare an attractive package, and that is why we need a variety of members with whom we can prepare such a package and then promote it well.

How will WOT’s activities correlate with those of similar institutions, such as POT?
POT is the national organization, a bit like the crown on top of many smaller organizations. As an NGO, WOT is not a member of POT, but will definitely work closely with it. For example, at tourist fairs we will be part of the Polish stand coordinated by POT. Of course, we may follow POT’s marketing plan for Poland as well, especially in those areas where the promotion of cities is concerned.

Who can become a member of WOT?
We hope that many organizations will join WOT, as the more members we have the more effective we can be. Membership is open to all those institutions, NGOs, hotels, companies and private operators who want to be a part of the dynamic new organization to promote tourism and in particular conventions and conferences in Warsaw.

What is WOT’s budget?
Currently we do not have a set budget. That will evolve from membership fees, which will be graded depending on the institution. We have advertised the position of WOT office director and hope to finalize it this month. Once we have a director we can prepare an action plan, a membership drive and a budget. When that is in place WOT will have access to the City’s membership fee of zl.800,000, which is much greater than that of any other WOT member.

How does WOT and the City of Warsaw plan to improve and raise Warsaw’s profile abroad?
The promotion of Warsaw as a brand is getting better all the time. We are now also visible on international television. That wasn’t the case in the past. The “Eye on Poland” CNN promotion has been featured again from September. I feel it is always more effective when others wish to promote us, rather than when we initiate it. We also take part in international trade fairs and step-by-step our visibility is improving through that exposure as well. The promotion around the world of the Year of Chopin in 2010 also increased our visibility and prestige. We plan to build on that publicity and continue with promoting those places in Warsaw with which Chopin is identified. That ought to be a permanent feature of our promotion of the city, as a lot had been invested and also achieved.

Poland is also becoming more visible as a brand because we are doing so well economically; we are holding the EU presidency and preparing to host the Euro 2012 soccer championships. There are a lot of exciting things happening in Poland and in Warsaw that make promotion of our brand a little easier and more effective.
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