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The tourists were not afraid of “Dug Up”. Poznań broke its record

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The Old Market Square looked like something out of post-apocalyptic movies. The sounds of hammers and grinders could be heard throughout the center, and a record number of excavators drove through the streets. Due to the accumulation of renovations, Poznań was nicknamed “Dug Out”. But – surprisingly – the renovations did not discourage tourists at all. On the contrary – in 2023, Poznań broke its tourist record. – We hope that this year will be absolutely fantastic – says Jan Mazurczak from the Poznań Local Tourist Organization.

4.03 million people visited Poznań in 2023 – according to data collected by the Poznań Local Tourist Organization (PLOT) as part of the Poznań Tourism Barometer.

968,000 guests took advantage of the offer of Poznań hotels, which is the highest occupancy rate in history. – This results from data provided by Selectivv, which monitors mobile phone traffic – explains Jan Mazurczak, director of PLOT.

Read also: Poznań – what to see? What can you visit? What are the tourist attractions?

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Tourism research as part of the Poznań Tourist Barometer has been conducted by PLOT since 2012. Last year's result is the best ever.

– We have said from the beginning that the necessary renovations of urban infrastructure will not affect tourist traffic, says Mariusz Wiśniewski, deputy mayor of Poznań.

Poznań. Renovation of the Old Market Square in numbers Poznań City Investments

Hotels have never had a year like this before

The occupancy rate of Poznań hotels reached 63.4 percent in 2023 (STR data) and is the best result in history. So far, the highest result was recorded before the pandemic – in 2019 it was 60.8%.

These data are confirmed by the results from the Central Statistical Office, according to which 1.39 million overnight stays were sold in Poznań in 2023.

Pilgrimages to “Dug Out”?

Did tourists want to see “Dug Up”? – We rather perceive these results as meaning that tourists came to Poznań not because of the renovations, but despite them – says Mazurczak.

According to Mazurczak, in 2022 the renovations have not yet had a significant impact on tourist traffic. – Then the Internet started making fun of our renovation, so we assume that some people could have postponed their visit to Poznań for another year – he says.

Already in May 2022, tourists complained that the most interesting attractions were obscured, and in their photos – instead of architectural gems of the capital of Greater Poland – construction works were visible.

Jacek Jaśkowiak, the mayor of Poznań, even posted a video with instructions on how to take photos so that the renovations would not be visible.

Poznań advises how to take photos during renovations.  No excavators

Poznań advises how to take photos during renovations. No excavatorsJacek Jaśkowiak

And in June, Poznań MP Franciszek Sterczewski encouraged people to support pubs in the Old Market Square and its vicinity during this difficult time, which are “experiencing a very difficult time”.

“After several waves of the pandemic, the outflow of tourists due to the war, prices and rising energy prices, and now due to renovations, they are really struggling to survive. Therefore, let's take matters into our own hands, let's visit the Old Town of Poznań, take photos and together let's try to create a positive situation in this situation. the identity of the heart of the city, which is clearly in a pre-heart attack condition,” he wrote, encouraging people to take photos wearing a helmet, a reflective vest and with the #Rozkopane sign – the entire set could be rented at one of the premises in the Old Market Square.

Renovations lasted until the end of 2023. Back in October, the city center was full of excavations. “Nothing lasts forever, except in the Old Town,” sang Ranko Ukulele.

Who visits Poznań?

But this did not deter tourists. – When going to Paris or Madrid, do we check which streets are currently under renovation? Oh no. Tourists also did not attach any importance to this when choosing Poznań. The residents certainly felt the inconvenience caused by the renovations. We would like to thank them once again for their understanding at that time – says Mariusz Wiśniewski, deputy mayor of Poznań.

Among foreign tourists, the majority were tourists from Germany (21%), the United States (15%) and Great Britain (11%).

– Until now, we had assumed that the American army was responsible primarily for such a large number of tourists from the United States. But MasterCard data after spending shows that American payment cards are spent several times more during the holidays. This is an obvious sign that even if the army generates this traffic in hotels, at least during the holidays people come to visit them, probably friends and family. These are tourist arrivals, and the expenses come from private cards, not business cards – explains Mazurczak.

Compared to 2022, the number of tourists from Italy (by 32%) and Spain (by 41%) has increased significantly. – We are very happy about this, because because of the war in Ukraine, tourists from there avoided Poland for a long time – says Mazurczak.

This year, there has already been a significant increase in the number of tourists from the Czech Republic. – Since April, we have had direct connections three times a week from Prague, so we expect the percentage increases to be the largest – explains Mazurczak.

In recent years, the number of Polish tourists in Poznań has also increased significantly. – During the pandemic, Poznań was discovered by tourists in Poland. We attribute this to two reasons – many of us may not have gone on domestic holidays for years and have started to discover Poland, and the second thing is the tourist voucher. People compare what they can get for this tourist voucher and it turns out that the price-quality ratio is attractive – says Mazurczak.

Where do tourists go?

Based on the data it receives, PLOT is also able to indicate places that are particularly popular. – Of course, this is the Old Market Square, Lake Malta, Ostrów Tumski. The Citadel has always performed very well in these tests, which is not so obvious. In general, Poznań is praised for the number of parks in the center, which we – residents – don't really pay attention to, explains Mazurczak.

The Old Market Square after renovationPoznań City Investments

More detailed PLOT data includes places where entry is ticketed. In 2023, Poznań's tourist attractions and museums achieved very good results.

The most popular places are Termy Maltańskie, whose services were used by 2.11 million people. 417,000 people checked in at the New Zoo. people, in the Old ZOO 337 thousand, and in the Palm House 260 thousand. In turn, the most popular museums are the National Museum in Poznań with attendance of 134,000. people, the second place was taken by the Museum of Applied Arts (127,000), and the podium was closed by the National Museum of Agriculture and Agri-Food Industry in Szreniawa near Poznań (102,000).

– Attendance at the National Museum and the Museum of Applied Arts exceeded 100,000, which may not be a great result when compared to the most popular museums in Poland, but it is really a very decent result – Mazurczak points out. Especially when comparing data from previous years. The Museum of Applied Arts was visited by 41,000 people in 2021, and in 2022. – 71 thousand, and last year it was 127 thousand.

What will it be like in 2024?

PLOT is counting on even greater tourist traffic this year. – We hope that this year will be absolutely fantastic, and we have the first results that prove it – says Jan Mazurczak.

The data for the first quarter are promising – the occupancy rate of Poznań hotels increased by four percentage points. – We expect an increase of ten percent. On the one hand, there are a lot of texts about Poznań and the fact that we have already completed the renovation of the Old Market Square, on the other hand, we have, for example, information about restaurants that have received Michelin stars and for many tourists they have become an excuse to come – they go to Poznań in order to eat well. Another thing is a lot of congresses – says Mazurczak.

PLOT also boasted about starting cooperation with MasterCard and joining MasterCard's Tourism Innovation Hub, which will soon result in very accurate data on tourists' spending in Poznań. – We are the only Polish institution in this Hub. Today we know that visitors are responsible for 35 percent of all expenses in the city, and Americans spend the most on one visit, as much as EUR 271 per person. We hope that we will also be able to indicate which cities tourists come from or research events – for example, see how much additional money participants of an event spent in Poznań. This is important because it is probably easier to plan the city's development in terms of tourism – explains Mazurczak.

Author:Filip Czekała

Main photo source: facebook / Franek Sterczewski

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