Krzysztof Piątek: Greece is the first choice of Poles for three years

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Greece is the first choice of Poles for three years

Greece has been the most popular destination for Polish tourists booking through travel agents in the last three years with double-digit growth rates and the 2015 data show a further increase of 20%.

This is underlined by the President of the Association of Polish Travel Agencies (PZOT) Krzysztof Piatek in his interview to tornosnews.

The most popular Greek destinations, Crete, Rhodes, Zakynthos, Corfu and Kos are all in the top-10 holiday destinations for Poles with Halkidiki, Kefalonia and Kavala following closely.

Destination promotion 

Mr. Piątek asserts that the current geopolitical situation is ideal for Greece to increase the Polish tourist flows and advises investing in destination promotion aimed at the Polish market.

In this direction, he considers the upcoming Grecka Panorama exhibition (11-13 December) to be held in the center of Warsaw, as an event of exceptional  importance. It is the first exclusively Greek tourist exhibition in Poland, and all leading Polish tour operator are xpected to participate actively. "I look forward to inaugurating the exhibition and I believe that it will have great success," he says emphatically.

Mr. Piątek's complete interview:

1.What is the profile of Polish outbound tourism over the last years?

In view of the fact that carrying out the activity of the organizer of tourism in Poland is a regulated, controlled activity – data are available concerning the number of entities that presently have licenses required for every tour operator. There are as much as 3895 of these companies.  In a country with the population of 38 million the number of tour operators is very impressive and it confirms that there is a great popularity of the provision of tourist services in business. The greatest Polish tour operator in 2014 reached approx. EUR 400 million of turnover, but the tenth tour operator on the list of the greatest tourist companies in Poland reached only EUR 15 million. It’s a fact that over 80% of outbound tourism is realized by several greatest companies that dominate in the Polish market. These companies include: Itaka, Rainbow, TUI, Wezyr, Neckermann and of course Grecos that specializes in trips to Greece and several specialists of trips to Egypt, Tunisia and Turkey. Tourism is a completely privatized sphere that is fully subjected to free market principles, which means that there is a fierce competition of all who participate in outbound tourism market, both great, global tourist concerns and Polish, very dynamic and well managed private tour operators. In recent years the market of outbound tourism has been systematically and dynamically increased. In year 2014 the increase in the number of clients of travel agencies significantly exceeded +20% in relation to year 2013. Current results are showing that also in 2015 we will have an increase – but about +4%.    

2. Which is the flow of Polish tourists to Greece, what are their favourite Greek destinations, what kind of accommodation do they choose?

We take the data concerning the statistics of trips from MerlinX – the booking system that is the most popular among travel agencies. This system is used by nearly 3000 tourist agents who are responsible for approx. 50% of all transactions in outbound tourism from Poland. In the last three years among the most popular countries chosen by Polish clients of travel agencies, Greece takes the first place and it maintains a two-figure dynamics of growth of number of clients. We estimate that in Summer 2015 season the number of clients who travelled to Greece with Polish tour operators will increase by nearly 20%. The most popular destinations in Greece in turn are:  Kreta, Rodos, Zakynthos, Korfu and Kos that are in the top ten of most popular destinations chosen by Poles. The further places of this ranking are occupied by Paphos, Chalikidiki, Kefalonia, Kavala.

Polish tourists mostly book 4-stars hotels – 44%, 3-stars – 26% and 5-stars – nearly 12%. The total number of people who book accommodation that is 4-stars and up is over 62%. The most popular form of board is naturally All Inclusive option, which is chosen by 80% of tourists. Only 15% of tourists use half board option. The number of tourists choosing all inclusive option is constantly increasing, since in 2014 it was chosen by “only” 74% of clients.   

3. What is necessary for Greece in order to raise the number of tourist arrivals from Poland?

The same principle is valid everywhere – “advertising is the leverage of trade” and I think it’s the best thing that has ever been come up with. Basically, a tourist is searching for peace and safety during holidays. It’s obvious that Poles, just like other nations from middle and northern Europe, tend towards the sun and warm waters, but in the present unsettled times they pay a great attention to peace and safety. A particular role in choosing the destination of holiday trip of a Pole is also connected with a price criterion. It is easy to understand the reasons why until now the trips to Egypt, Tunisia and Bulgaria were so much popular in Poland – exactly because of the price. In the present geopolitical situation, from the perspective of the Polish market Greece presents itself to be very attractive. What is needed is peace in economy and in politics and the movement of Poles to Greece will be further increased. The dynamics of the increase of arrivals can be additionally strengthened by promotion, education and advertising the values of the vacation in Greece. For sure it will be a profitable investment.         

4. What is your opinion about GRECKA PANORAMA, an exhibition exclusively for Greece, which will take place this year for the first time in Poland?

As I mentioned it before, Greece has been the most popular destination of Polish tourists since three years. One can ask – what are we waiting for? Isn’t it the high time for showing how important is for Greece the Polish market of outbound tourism? It’s great that Grecka Panorama exhibition will soon take place in Warsaw in a perfect localization in the centre of the capital city. From the leaks I know that all leading tour operators said they would participate in the event and the number of guests will only depend on the popularisation of this event. The time is perfect for dreaming of summer holidays. I look forward to the opening of this exhibition and I believe that it will be a success. 

5. Which problems do Polish tour operators encounter in Greece?

I’m very far from complaining, especially when it comes to tourism in Greece, a tourism that is developing tremendously in recent years, but it is appropriate to answer also this question. I perceive several causes that slow down a bit the dynamics of growth of the number of Polish tourists in Greece. One can mention too few number of beds available in hotels, mainly on smaller islands. It seems that the process of refreshing a hotel infrastructure could be sped up in many resorts. The tour operator are convinced that the quality of hotel infrastructure, e.g. in Turkey, evidently exceeds the quality of Greek hotel facilities. There is a shortage of additional attractions, such as water parks for younger clients. Moreover, smaller islands often lack 4 and 5 stars hotels with all inclusive option, therefore there is a constant fight between tour operators  with the use of deposits and hotel guarantees. Seasonality, that is relatively short summer season is also a problem with which tour operators and hoteliers has to cope with in some way. To sum up the above observations, I’m really convinced that it is good … but it could be even better.          



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