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The Warsaw Voice » Special Sections » December 1, 2014
Poland - Meetings Destination
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People Make the Difference
December 1, 2014   
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David Henry, the Orbis Hotel Group’s Senior Vice President for Sales, Marketing and Distribution, talks to the Voice.

Orbis is a strategic partner of the Poland Meetings Destination program and you are a strong supporter of the meetings industry. What do you think of the idea of a local tourist fee to be collected by hotels in Poland and transferred to local governments to help them develop tourist infrastructure and promote local tourist products?

The question is not about the fee as such, but about how it is utilized. When the fee is introduced, it will be charged back to our customers. As a hotel operator, we are not always eager to increase prices because competition is fierce. If the fee is used to market destinations nationally and internationally and to leverage different opportunities in terms of accessibility for business, the way it is done in Paris, for example, as well as in many other European cities, then it is a very good idea. If the fee remains within a reasonable limit, it can have an impact on a destination’s appeal and there are many international examples that this model works. But if the fee is collected to repair, say, potholes in streets, then it is a bit more questionable.

Orbis will, of course, comply with regulations should the fee be imposed, but we will be interested in seeing that it is spent properly on the promotion of our destinations.

You’re leaving for the Middle East to take up another key position with the Accor Group after six years in Poland. Did you enjoy living here?
Poland is a tremendous country, but unfortunately not known at the right level internationally. When my wife and I came here for the first time, we didn’t really know what to expect; we didn’t know much about Polish culture, tradition and history. We have been awestruck by the people we have met and it is always the people that you meet that make the difference when you travel around the world.
This is an amazing country and this is what we tell our friends when we visit home.

I hear you’re a keen golfer. Are there enough good places to play in Poland?
You have great golf courses in Poland. I was born into a golfing family and have played golf all my life, so your golf courses are something I’ve enjoyed thoroughly. I play in Warsaw on a regular basis. There are three golf courses here and I would definitely recommend them.

David Henry’s entire career has been linked to the Accor Group. In April 2009 he started working for the Orbis Hotel Group, in which Accor is the strategic investor, as Director of Sales and Marketing for Poland and the Baltic States. Earlier, between 2004 and 2009, he was Director of Sales Support for the Accor Group while working in Munich and Paris. Now, after almost six years in Poland, he is leaving Warsaw and heading off to Dubai to take up a new challenge within the Accor Group.
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