Let the MICE Play
March 27, 2014
Monika Białkowska, managing director of the Warsaw Tourism Organization (WOT), talks to Jolanta Wolska.
What are the most important priorities in promoting Warsaw?
There are many. The city needs to be promoted as a good place to live, visit, study or invest. WOT is involved in promoting tourism, especially business tourism. We are working to attract events to Warsaw, particularly conferences and congresses. Of course, we want to look after the individual tourist as well.
WOT wants to work with and consult with the entire tourist industry as well as integrate and coordinate its activities in the area of business tourism. It is important that the message going out be coordinated and that the whole industry has an input into making promotional decisions. Also, we are working together with the private sector, which has business experience.
Is the Warsaw Convention Bureau a separate organization?
The Warsaw Convention Bureau has been part of WOT since the beginning of this year. It benefits from the pubic-private structure of WOT, including cooperation with the private sector and thus has access to business-oriented strategies, know-how, data on the latest trends and fresh ideas. It is important that an organization that brings in conventions has the word convention in its name.
What is WOT’s budget and what are its priorities for this year?
This year our budget is around zl.1 million, most of which will go to promote business tourism abroad. We plan to be visible at international business tourism fairs such as IMEX and EIBTM. We also plan to organize road shows in France and Germany and to invite convention and conference planners to Warsaw. All these activities have one goal—to attract conferences, congresses and meetings to our city. We are also optimistic in winning grants from government institutions and perhaps sponsorship funding from businesses to expand our planned promotional activities.
Does WOT have to compete with other organizations across Poland for the same business?
We do not compete but cooperate with other organizations locally, regionally and nationally. Poland has 16 provinces and each of them has something different to offer; the market is quite big, and it is rare that we compete for the same event. We meet several times a year to exchange information.
One such occasion was the Poland Meetings Destination Conference in Warsaw held just last month by the MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, Exhibitions) industry associations SKKP (The Polish Conference and Congress Association), SBE (Polish Event Industry Association), SOIT (Incentive Travel Organizers Association), MPI (Meetings Professionals International), The Warsaw Voice and WOT, which was one of the co-organizing partners.
It focused on issues including how the MICE industry and business tourism impacts the Polish economy.