Vacations in Poland despite the war in Ukraine: Is travel safe?

The Corona pandemic has affected the tourism industry severely. At the beginning of 2022, there was a cautious vent: the number of reservations rose, and the prospects for the Easter holidays and the summer season were positive. But then Russia started the war in Ukraine. Countries such as Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia are the main destinations for Ukrainian refugees. In light of this situation, uncertainty is growing among travelers. Konrad Goldon, head of the Polish Tourist Office in Berlin, noted this, too.

Mr. Goldon, are you currently experiencing uncertainty among travelers due to the war in Ukraine?

In light of the stunning images of the war, some people generally do not want to go on vacation – whether to Italy, Turkey or Poland. Of course we have to accept that. But we also know that many are exhausted after two years of Corona restrictions and working from home and want nothing more than to relax and see something new again. This need to travel is also legitimate. At the moment, it is the press in Germany that demands more from us than the end customers.

Konrad Goldon is the director of the Polish Tourist Board in Berlin. © Source: Polish Tourism

Are flights to Poland often canceled for Easter?

We are not aware of such cancellations, but I do not want to rule out the possibility that this will happen in individual cases. The Polish hotel and tourism industry is preparing for the start of the season, which will be accompanied by an additional easing of Corona measures. We are currently discussing the full lifting of the epidemiological situation this spring. The number of new infections every day is about 200 per 100,000 inhabitants, which is much lower than in Germany and many other European countries. Some time ago, Poland was no longer included in the Robert Koch Institute’s list of high-risk areas.

What would you say to currently hesitant travelers? Is vacationing in Poland safe at the moment?

Currently, we can say that the situation in Poland is no more ambiguous than in Germany. Travel destinations in the west of our country are especially popular with German guests, such as the Baltic resorts of Schönönsee and Kölberg or the giant mountains. These destinations are as far removed from the war as Berlin for example. The southeast of our country, which directly borders Ukraine, has so far visited only a small percentage of German guests.

Are there any restrictions on travelers in the country?

We do not assume that our foreign holiday guests will have to accept significant restrictions. But they will see signs of solidarity with our neighbor Ukraine throughout the country. Of course, centers near the border, such as Przemyśl or Rzeszów, face the challenge of organizing humanitarian aid in light of the influx of refugees. However, the private, municipal and international commitment here is enormous, and with the help of our European partners, we can quickly and easily find people in safe accommodations throughout Europe.

Thousands demonstrate in Berlin. A sign that reads “Peace”. @Source: Fabian Sommer / d

A total of about two million people have arrived in Poland as war refugees since February. Most of them are housed privately, and some are also in communal dwellings. Hotels in holiday resorts like Koelberg are not expected to be used to house refugees.

Are you optimistic about the summer season 2022?

In the end, we were positive about the development. Take the number of passengers, for example: We did not reach the level before the Corona pandemic. However, our international airports managed to achieve an average increase of about 35 percent in 2021 compared to the previous year. Similar voices have reached us from the hottest summer destinations on the Baltic coast and in Masuria.

In 2020, Poland ranked seventh among the most popular foreign travel destinations for Germans. Why did you benefit from the epidemic compared to others?

Before the Corona pandemic, we could observe a continuous growth in the number of German guests in Poland. According to figures from the Holiday and Travel Research Association (FUR), we had to deal with a 17.5 percent decline in longer vacation trips in 2020, but many other countries had to post even bigger recessions. Even Poland was able to increase its market share. In 2021, the results were at a similar level.

Many guests not only prefer destinations in the immediate vicinity due to the Corona pandemic, but also want to travel more sustainably. Poland has the advantage of being a very close and accessible destination for German guests, but at the same time it is flavored with a bit of exotic and is reasonably priced. It is clear that the offers of active and nature tourism as well as the camping and caravan sector have benefited from this situation. Guesthouses or small castle hotels in rural areas that provide the necessary peace and quiet are especially popular.

Leave a Comment