Tourist organisation head calls for promoting Poland's eastern regions
Eastern Poland needs a promotional campaign depicting it as safe despite the war in neighbouring Ukraine and tensions on the Polish-Belarusian border, the head of the Polish Chamber of Tourism (PIT) has told PAP.
Pawel Niewiadomski said Poland's regions bordering Belarus and Ukraine have been avoided by tourists since the start of the war in February last year, and since the Belarusian government started a campaign to get migrants to cross into Poland in the second half of 2021.
Foreign tourists, he added, see Poland "as a place where the war is taking place", and even if they do come, they stay clear of the east.
Niewiadomski said his organisation PIT, a tourism industry lobby, has appealed to the state’s Polish Tourism Organisation to channel more funds for the promotion of the country's eastern regions.
"We're in constant contact with the Polish Tourism Organisation, which is responsible first for promotion and second for fund distribution," Niewiadomski said.
He went on to say that eastern Poland could benefit from "an image campaign that would show that Poland and those regions are simply safe."
According to Niewiadomski, there are funds for this purpose, "but the issue is how they will be spent."
In the autumn of 2021, the government decided to offer support for the tourism sector in the eastern Podlaskie and Lubelskie regions, but some businesses, including large hotels, have already reached the state aid limit under EU rules.
"We're appealing to the government to renew its support (for tourism in the regions - PAP) as local businesses have been affected by the situation," Niewiadomski continued, adding that not only foreign but also Polish tourists were "bypassing" those regions.