At roughly 18.3 million, the number of foreign tourists visiting Poland last year was 4.5 percent higher than a year earlier and larger than in any other country in its region, the money.pl website reported, citing data by the Polish Ministry of Sport and Tourism.
The website said World Bank data showed Croatia attracted 13 million foreign tourists last year, while Romania was visited by just over 10 million and the Czech Republic drew about 9 million.
Meanwhile, Portugal reported 11 million international visitors in 2017, Switzerland had 9 million, and Norway attracted 6 million, money.pl said.
Norwegian fjords, Swiss Alps, Croatian beaches—all these attractions are beginning to pale in comparison with what Poland has to offer, money.pl commented.
France attracted over 82 million tourists in 2017, according to World Bank data, the Polish website reported.
Improving infrastructure, high customer service standards
It quoted Ewa Kubaczyk of the Polish Chamber of Tourism as saying that “Poland is not only attractive to tourists from Europe, but has also been discovered by visitors from markets with great tourist potential such as China or the Middle East.”
Poland is becoming more appealing to tourists as infrastructure improves nationwide, including roads and hotels, Kubaczyk said, adding that international tourists also valued high customer service standards in the country.
Billions from tourism
However, while Poland leads the way in its region in terms of visitor numbers, it is outperformed by other European countries when it comes to earning money from foreign tourists, money.pl said.
It quoted data by the World Tourism Organisation according to which Poland's tourism revenue totaled EUR 9.9 billion last year, significantly less than Sweden, Switzerland and Portugal.
Croatia boasted EUR 9 billion even though it was visited by far fewer people than Poland, according to the website.
Experts point out that Poland remains cheaper than destinations such as Switzerland or Portugal; besides, many foreign tourists come to Poland for just a few days on city breaks instead of longer stays, unlike in the case of some other countries, money.pl noted.
Yet industry professionals are optimistic, money.pl said, as foreign tourists are spending more money in Poland. In 2017, the average international visitor spent almost USD 500 in Poland, 4 percent more than in 2016, with non-European tourists spending more than USD 1,400 per person on average, according to the website.