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The Warsaw Voice » Special Sections » August 29, 2013
TOURISM
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Making a Name for Itself: Polish Meetings Industry
August 29, 2013   
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The meetings industry has become a rapidly developing branch of tourism in Poland, making its mark internationally. For example, the Destination Marketing Association International has awarded its Accredited Destination Marketing Organization certificate, which acknowledges the skills and professionalism of institutions promoting destinations, to the Poland Convention Bureau, which is part of the Polish Tourist Organization (POT).

The Polish Tourist Organization, in turn, has received a Meetings Industry Marketing Award (MIMA), given to businesses and organizations advertising themselves on the British market, for a press campaign conducted to promote the Polish meetings industry. Quality projects promoting Poland as a country with a strong and diversified meetings industry have also been recognized by destination marketing experts, who have given the ICCA Best Marketing Award to a campaign called “Polska. Move Your Imagination.”

Working with respected organizers of conventions and incentive travel, the Poland Convention Bureau has succeeded in bringing many international events and conferences to this country. Over the past several years, these have included an anniversary meeting of the European Cities Marketing (ECM) association, the Cracow 2010 Summer School training, a Research and Marketing workshop by the ICCA organization (2011 in Gdańsk) and board meetings of European branches of Meeting Professionals International (2009 in Cracow).

In 2012, Poland hosted over 22,300 meetings and events. According to Krzysztof Celuch, the head of the Poland Convention Bureau, that figure shows Poland has drawn the attention of top professionals in the meetings industry. “Proactive trade associations, initiatives undertaken jointly by different enterprises and the growing number of venues are just several examples,” said Celuch. “The rapidly developing congress centers in Wrocław and Poznań, the very active center in Cracow, which is still under development, and new and daring promotional concepts are just some of the many aspects which give Poland a solid foundation as it seeks to host key meetings.”

The Poland Convention Bureau has compiled a report entitled Poland Meetings and Events Industry 2013 to give an outline of the market for meetings and events held in Poland and estimate their value in economic terms. Analyses contained in the report are based on norms from a study entitled Measuring the Economic Importance of the Meetings Industry—Developing a Tourism Satellite Account Extension, issued by the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and affiliated members. Statistics employing the UNWTO norms take into account meetings and events which have at least 10 participants in attendance, last no less than half a day (4.5 hours and more) and are held in locations (venues) paid specifically for that purpose.

For the time being, the size of the meetings industry in Poland can only be estimated and the Poland Meetings and Events Industry 2013 report focuses on the industry’s potential. More regions in Poland are showing interest in the meetings industry and the 22,300 meetings and events held last year are a good sign for the future. The report analyzes meetings organized in 2012 by recommended incentive travel organizers and professional convention organizers and, using pilot surveys, it outlines an economic profile of participants in these events.

Surveys conducted among conference participants have shown that the average length of stay in Poland was 3.5 days, with an average of 2.5 nights. Based on the data, the number of overnight stays paid for by people who attended meetings and events in 2012 can be estimated at around 4.5 million, which is around 7.3 percent of all overnight stays for groups provided in Poland in 2012T.

The report identifies trends regarding selected types of meetings and the organization of those in a specific group of cities in Poland. Importantly, it also highlights new initiatives undertaken to promote the meetings industry in cities which so far have not shown much interest in hosting conventions and incentive travel. Facts presented in the report show that Poland offers professionally organized conventions, attractive incentive travel and creative and competent customer service.

The report is available at www.poland-convention.pl/en/service/statistics/meetings-&-events-statistics/?-events-statistics/=

The number of overnight stays in 2012 totaled 62,014,890. Figures from the Local Data Bank, Central Statistical Office (GUS), www.stat.gov.pl, March 2, 2013
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