Center roars with drunks

The number of tourists coming to Krakow has increased recently. But while alcohol sales are high and getting higher, the restaurant industry has suffered a big decline in business, perhaps 20 percent, the newspaper Dziennik Polski reports.

“This situation may be a result of Krakow’s latest promotion strategy,” said Boguslaw Kosmider, a city councilman. The city has been advertised as a great place to have fun, particularly cheap fun. Dozens of web sites advertise the city as a place for wild stag parties.

For a few months now, local media have sounded the alarm that Krakow is becoming a magnet for drunken tourism. They say Krakow should think about changing its promotions and switch from the cheap-fun proposals to more cultural ones appropriate for a historic city.

But Grazyna Leja of the mayor’s office says the drunk problem accounts for only 4 percent of the 8 mln tourists who visit annually. She says journalists are making a big issue out of nothing. Regarding the decrease in the food business, Leja said prices have become too high. Tourists also complain that Krakow restaurants close too early.

In 2006, of the 8 mln tourists visiting Krakow, 2.1 mln were foreigners. Polish tourists left in Krakow on average 236 zloty (over 60 euro); foreigners spent 662 zloty (about 175 euro). The tourists spent about 3.6 days in Krakow. It is estimated that Krakow may attract up to 9 mln visitors this year.

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