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Euro 2012 is Poland’s chance to update its image

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ITCM interviews Boguslaw Becla, Acting Director of the Polish National Tourist Office in London

The Euro 2012 finals will kick off on June 8 2012. It was very timely, therefore, for the Polish National Tourist Office to kick off their year’s promotional build-up with a hospitality box at Wembley on June 4th 2011 when England played Switzerland in one of the qualifying matches.
Poland, with Ukraine, is host to the finals and it is determined to ensure that the 800m Euros it is spending on new stadia and road, rail and general infrastructure will be a worthwhile investment.


Acting Director of the office in London is Boguslaw Becla (more easily known as Bogdan) and he can reel off a remarkable list of promotional activities that will result in giving UK, Europe and the world an updated image of Poland between now and June 2012.

In addition to an outdoor poster campaign and regular news announcements, there will be five huge marquees opposite the Festival Hall at the Thames Festival. Four of these will be devoted to the four cities that will be the Polish venues: Warsaw, Gdansk, Wroclaw and Poznan.

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‘We will have a greatly extended presence at World Travel Market’, he adds, ‘and will be arranging many Fam Trips and Press Trips to Poland. Some will coincide with the opening of the new stadium facilities.’

‘This is’, he explains, ‘the moment when we will show the world what the modern Poland is all about. Most people have a very outdated view of Poland and we want to make absolutely sure that they get to know the real Poland from now on.

‘For a start, we must get rid of this false perception of Poland as in Eastern Europe. That is a leftover from the days of the Iron Curtain. Poland is geographically very central in Europe and has always been a hub for trade, travel and ideas. People change their impression once they have visited today’s Poland. I can honestly say that 99 per cent of visitors come back once they have seen what Poland can offer. We have beautiful cities and countryside; we have lakes; we have seaside resorts and snowy mountains. We have centuries of fascinating culture.’

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Each of the four host cities in Poland will have a new stadium. Warsaw’s will be the 55,000-seat National Stadium; the Olympic Stadium in Wroclaw and the Poznan Stadium will each seat 40,000; and the Baltic Arena in Gdansk will have a capacity of 41,000.

‘Of course’, states Bogdan, ‘they are all designed to serve Poland well into the future. They will be able to host sports other than football and will have very modern conference facilities.’ Bogdan is very confident and upbeat about everything relating to Poland’s part in Euro 2012 – except, possibly, the Polish football team.

‘The majority of the players do very well for teams in the UK, Germany, France and elsewhere, but who knows how well we will perform as a national team at the finals? But, in my opinion, they will definitely get a terrific boost from playing on their home ground in such great new facilities.’

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