The number of tourists coming to Krakow and the Malopolska region jumped a whopping 41 percent in 2007, according to IPSOS Poland, a company located in Warsaw that specializes in marketing and advertising research, consumer loyalty and satisfaction studies, and opinion polls.
About 14.5 mln visitors came in 2007, versus 10.3 mln visitors in 2006. Four of five visitors were Poles and one was a foreigner.
The region’s biggest draw was Krakow, which accounted for 8 mln of the 14.5 mln visitors.
“The regional government is going to try to get tourists to see other places and attractions in our region” besides Krakow, said Leszek Zegzda, the deputy head of Malopolska Province.
Major tourist draws besides the attractions in Krakow last year included the Tatra Mountains, the Wieliczka Salt Mine and Wadowice, the city where the late Pope John Paul II grew up.
Visitors spent about 9.8 bln zloty in the region in 2007, IPSOS said. International tourists spent about 1,903 zloty a day, four times more than the average Polish visitor.
The highest percentages of international tourists in Krakow and the Malopolska region were the 14.4 percent from Great Britain, the 10.9 percent from Germany, the 8.9 percent from Italy and the 6.8 percent from the United States.
The highest percentages of Polish visitors were the 20.3 percent from Mazowsze, the 18.7 percent from Silesia and the 10.4 percent from Podkarpacie in southeastern Poland.
About 30 percent of tourists took rooms when visiting the region rather than hotels, according to questionnaires that visitors filled out. A lot more Poles than foreigners opted for rooms, the results showed.
Seventy percent of international tourists said they came to the region to do sight-seeing, 61 percent to relax and 34 percent for its entertainment. Those filling out the questionnaire could list more than one reason for coming.
International visitors learned about the region primarily from the Internet and guidebooks and in fewer cases from family and friends.
“It is very important information that so many people use the Internet as a source of tourist information,” said Grzegorz Sygnowski of IPSOS Poland. “It means that it is worth investing in the Internet, which tourists use much more than guidebooks.”