Established in 1990, the Polish Chamber of Tourism is the largest organisation within the country’s tourism industry. President Pawel Niewiadomski discusses the Chamber’s role, activities and achievements.
European Times: What are the main activities of the Chamber of Tourism?
Pawel Niewiadomski: The Chamber has been significantly restructured since its beginnings. Currently we have 11 regional offices and almost 500 members, but with our sales offices the number amounts to 2,200 members overall. It covers almost the entire territory of the country, and represents 70% of the floating capital in Polish tourism. Our largest members are ITAKA and Rainbow, we also group associated members from abroad. The major activity of the Chamber is lobbying for our members and their promotion. We represent our members, we do matchmaking, we offer legal advice, we do networking, we organize events abroad and study tours for our members and we are present at all travel exhibitions and fairs in Poland and abroad.
European Times: What are the biggest achievements of the Chamber during your mandate?
Pawel Niewiadomski: During my two terms as President, internally we introduced a centralized financial management of the whole chamber. Our excellent informational channels are used for promotional campaigns and for cooperation with tourist chambers from other countries. Externally, our main success is our active role in the EU law making processes, including the “Package travel and linked travel arrangements directive”, which represents a new era of how people are buying travel services, and the “Insurance Mediation Directive 2”. These laws achieved a good balance between consumers and the travel trade and enabled the continuation of selling travel insurance by travel shops and online travel agents.
European Times: What are your sources of funding and how do you attract new members?
Pawel Niewiadomski: Our major source of funding is the members’ contribution, but we also receive government subsidies and we apply for certain government or EU grants. Nevertheless, our main priority is to remain independent, so we are always cautious when it comes to receiving funding. We try to attract new members by promoting during travel trade fairs, by e-mail marketing and whispered marketing. We are also very active in social media, we cooperate with the press, radio and TV.
European Times: How would you describe the Chamber’s cooperation with ECTAA – the Group of national travel agents’ and tour operators’ associations within the EU?
Pawel Niewiadomski: As a full-fledged member, we have excellent cooperation with ECTAA and the Chamber has representatives in all different committees within the Group. It is a very good value for our members, since we are immediately informed of any decision on EU level which might affect the sector, and whenever there is an operational or taxation problem at European level, we can ask ECTAA to assist us.
European Times: What is your personal message?
Pawel Niewiadomski: Come to Poland and invest in Poland. The Chamber of Tourism is open to new members and we are an excellent source of information concerning activities on Polish market.