Poland to see growing summer tourism amid climate change, predicts head of travel giant TUI

Poland will be among the countries to see a rise in summer tourism as climate change pushes holidaymakers further north, predicts the head of travel giant TUI. The country has 770 kilometres (480 miles) of coastline, much of it made up of sandy beaches.

The firm’s CEO, Sebastian Ebel, says that TUI is planning to invest in more package holidays around the Baltic Sea, as well as in the Netherlands and Belgium. “It gives us more opportunities for growth,” he explained in a call with media outlets including the BBC, Reuters and The Telegraph.

Most Poles are holiday at home this summer amid the pandemic – but that doesn’t mean they are missing out.

We take a photographic tour through 10 of Poland’s best destinations, from beaches in the north to mountains in the south and stunning lakes between https://t.co/fdyxSbmCzP

— Notes from Poland 🇵🇱 (@notesfrompoland) July 9, 2020

The announcement comes after heatwaves have caused major disruption for holidaymakers in southern Europe this summer, especially in Greece, which suffered a series of wildfires, resulting in mass evacuations. TUI itself had to evacuate 8,000 customers from the island of Rhodes.

Poland’s Baltic coast has long been a popular summer destination among Poles themselves, but in recent years it has drawn a growing number of international tourists as well.

Last year, The Telegraph described Hel – a sandy, tree-lined peninsula north of Gdańsk – as “an unlikely slice of beach holiday heaven in sunny Poland”. This year, readers of The Guardian picked the peninsula as one of their favourite travel spots in Poland.

Meanwhile, away from the Baltic coast, the Polish capital Warsaw was chosen in a public vote as European Best Destination 2023. Kraków, the country’s second-largest city and main international tourist hub, has repeatedly been chosen as Europe’s best city break destination by British consumer association Which?

„Hel, the Polish peninsula that launched a thousand puns, is an unlikely slice of beach holiday heaven in sunny Poland” and the nearby port city of Gdańsk is „one of Europe’s unsung gems”, writes @TelegraphTravel https://t.co/lhGpBDRzGa

— Notes from Poland 🇵🇱 (@notesfrompoland) August 1, 2022

Data from the first quarter of this year from Statistics Poland (GUS), a state agency, show that tourist stays had already surpassed pre-pandemic levels.

Between January and March, 7.02 million tourists stayed in accommodation in Poland, including 1.35 million visitors from abroad. Both those figures were higher than in the same period of 2019, when they stood at 6.7 million and 1.29 respectively.

That data relates to the winter holiday season, but GUS figures from May – the latest month available – show that 602,000 foreign tourists visited Poland (including those who did not stay overnight). That was 31% higher than a year earlier.

There has been a boom in the number of Czech tourists coming to Poland for their summer holidays, data show.

Visitors from the landlocked Czech Republic are in particular heading to the beaches of Poland’s Baltic coast https://t.co/tbvSWxa0wv

— Notes from Poland 🇵🇱 (@notesfrompoland) July 12, 2023

However, Poland still has a long way to go to catch up with Europe’s leading holiday destinations. EU data show that foreign visitors spent a combined 18.7 million nights in the country’s tourist accommodation in 2019.

That was the 13th highest figure in the bloc, well below leaders Spain (299 million), Italy (221 million), France (136 million) and Greece (120 million).

As well as potentially making Poland a more attractive holiday destination, the warming being brought about by climate change is also predicted to boost the country’s growing winemaking industry.

Winegrowing, once widespread in Poland, is again part of the landscape after dying out amid a cooling climate and political upheaval.

Inka Wrońska of @fermentmag offers a guide to the growing industry and recommendations for the best vineyards and wineshttps://t.co/B2B75cncMH

— Notes from Poland 🇵🇱 (@notesfrompoland) November 19, 2021

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Main image credit: Fmbar22/Wikimedia Commons (under CC BY-SA 3.0 PL)

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