Tourism in Poland

Tourism in Poland

Development of tourism is a significant impulse boosting social-economic advancement of the country. Its relevance is reflected in high ability to generate new workplaces, raise of local communities’ life quality and increase of regions’ competitiveness. At the same time, tourism contributes to discovery of the most precious cultural and environmental resources, the exposition of which improves interior and exterior image of the country or its particular regions and cities. 

Tourism is one of the most rapidly developing sectors of economy in the world, which is confirmed by the statistics provided by the UNWTO (World Tourism Organisation) and WTTC (World Travel and Tourism Council). Since WWII, a constant, unstopped growth both in terms of number of tourists and impact of tourism is noted. That is why more and more countries is strongly involved in development of tourism and branches connected with it.

It is so caused because tourism is a branch:

  • Generating economic growth, restoring macroeconomic balance and positively affecting country’s payment balance;
  • Involving because of its interdisciplinary character of several dozen sectors and branches of economy, being simultaneously the flywheel for regional and local development;
  • Activating various endogenic environments and potentials, unleashing entrepreneurship and social activity;
  • Creating new job vacancies, enriching economic structure, being a bridge between social and commercial activity;
  • Empowering the position of metropolitan facilities, while giving new development dynamics to lesser, peripheral facilities and those of previously exhausted development potentials;
  • Being an important component of sustainable development, proper shaping of which influences natural and cultural heritage protection and cultivates local and regional traditions.

Touristic exchange

Poland is becoming more frequently and eagerly visited country by tourists. Every year shows a systematic growth of touristic motion, both foreign and, first and foremost, national. It concerns not only business clients, but also touristic ones, which is the result of constant growth of society’s mid-class. Among Polish businessmen, business trips number constantly grows. In turn, there is the desire of tourists for the use of a higher-standard hotel base during their holidays. Average occupancy of hotels in large cities in the country reaches 50%, and next to popular airports – even 70%. The sector’s development is also driven by conference business in hotels. Organisers of such meetings eagerly organise them outside cities, near airports, in high-class objects. Therefore, this sector has better conjuncture for development.

One of the positive effects of Poland’s accession to the European Union in 2004 was acceleration of touristic sector’s development pace in Poland. In addition, inclusion of our country to the Schengen Zone in December 2007 was also of great significance. It truly facilitated the EU’s citizens to travel to Poland, for the need for border controls on border crosses was abolished.

Beneficial geographical location of Poland, which is technically in the centre of the continents, on the crossroads of important European roads, is also important. Over millennium-long history of our country has caused the creation of many historical monuments, as well as historical areas, marked with many a war which took place here, in Poland. One can find mountains, perfect for active leisure in winter, coastal terrain perfect for recreation in summer, the last of the European natural old woods with their unique flora and fauna, or a great number of lakes – and even deserts in Poland. Modern and constantly developing cities offer many interesting activities. In Poland, it is really hard to get bored. Rich and quick city communication facilitates transportation within the country’s territory and easy international connections. It makes Poland an attractive place for visiting, tourism and leisure and any other kind of free time spending. Relatively low level of prices in comparison to the West-European countries puts us on a really beneficial position.

According to the available data in recent years, the number of foreign tourists who visited Poland has grown up to nearly 45 million in 2016. Poland was visited by the German tourists most and, moreover, a two-digit growths have been noted in the case of tourists from Sweden (16% growth), Belgium (17% growth), Norway (17% growth), Lithuania (16% growth) and Portugal (27% growth). A huge growth has also been noted in the case of tourists from China, for it is 28%. In the 3rd quarter of year 2016, the estimated number of Poland’s borders crossing was 78.0 million, 45.0 million of which concerned foreigners (57.7% in general) and 33.0 million Poles (42.3%). About 76.2% of the general number of crossings concerned land border of Poland with the EU member states, 11% - the exterior land border of the EU, 11.9% - air border and 0.9% - sea border. The most people crossing the land border of Poland were travelling to Germany (45.9% of general Poland’s land border crossing in the 3rd quarter of 2016), and next the border with the Czech Republic (23.5%), Slovakia (14.8%), Ukraine (8.2%), Belarus and Lithuania (3.2% each) and Russia (1.1%).



In accordance with the Polish Central Statistical Office (GUS), the estimated value of goods and services purchased in Poland by foreigners (non-residents) in the 3rd quarter of year 2016 is shaped on the level of approx. PLN 10.9 million, as for the expenses made abroad by Polish citizens – PLN 6.4 million. Expenses of foreigners were 3.1% higher than in analogical period of 2015, as for Poles – higher by 0.5%.

Estimated value of purchased goods and services purchased in Poland by foreigners crossing the Polish land exterior border of the EU only in the 3rd quarter of 2016 is shaped on the level of approx. PLN 2.5 billion.

Since 2013, a constant growth of the use of hotels in Poland may be observed. In year 2015, in touristic accommodation objects in 2015, 71.2 million accommodations were provided (7.0% less than in 2014), including foreign tourists – 13.8 million (5.9% more than in the previous year). Participation of accommodations for foreign tourists was over 90% in the cases of Malta, Cyprus and Croatia, as for Romania and Poland – it did not exceed 20%. Indicator of the level of hotel accommodations and similar objects use in Poland was 36.7% in year 2015 and was maintained on a level similar to those of following countries: Hungary, Luxembourg, Czech Republic, but definitely below southern European countries like: Malta (63.8%), Cyprus (61.6%), Spain (55.7%) and Croatia (52.7%), in which the touristic season lasts definitely longer that in the north.

Indicators increasing year after year on hotels encourage to invest in this market segment. This type of investments is characterised by limited risk and allows for generating relatively high incomes.


  • Ministry of Sport, 2008, „Directions of touristic development until 2015” („Kierunki rozwoju turystyki do 2015 roku”),
  •  Central Statistical Office of Poland, 2017, „Border traffic and foreigners’ spendings in Poland and Polish citizens abroad for the third quarter of 2016” („Ruch graniczny oraz wydatki cudzoziemców w Polsce i Polaków za granicą w III kw. 2016 r.”),
  • Central Statistical Office of Poland, 2016, „Tourism in the European Union” („Turystyka w Unii Europejskiej”),
  •, after: Ministry of Sport and Tourism, 2016, „More and more foreign tourists visit Poland” („Do Polski przyjeżdża coraz więcej turystów z zagranicy”) (accessed on 03.03.2017),
  •, after: Central Statistical Office of Poland, 2016, „The utilization of touristic accommodation facilities in 2015” („Wykorzystanie turystycznych obiektów noclegowych w 2015 roku”),46449,,gus,wykorzystanie_bazy_noclegowe,s... (accessed on 03.03.2017).