Poland's tourism prospects brighten

Hilton has opened its second hotel in Poland as the country prepares for an increase in tourism arrivals after several years of decline.

The Hilton Gdansk is situated in the coastal town of Gdansk, overlooking the Motlawa River and close to the "old town" and many of the area's tourism attractions.

It has been designed by Polish architect Professor Stefan Kurlylowicz and has been constructed using native limestone and traditional Polish bricks to ensure it matches its surroundings.

Guests can enjoy a rooftop "urban beach," the highest rooftop bar in Gdansk, along with several bars, a restaurant and fitness center.

Poland has experienced a considerable decline in tourism in the past three years, caused by the economic downturn and a price hike for tourist visas for visitors from non-EU countries prompted by the Poland's accession to the European Union in 2007.

However, authorities predict an upturn from 11.9 million visitors in 2009 to 13.3 million by 2013, mirrored by a steady rise in the number of EU visitors.

This has been reflected by several established hotel chains moving into the area, including Hilton's first property in 2007, Scandic's in 2009, and Clarion in 2010 - with Clarion owner Choice Hotels International promising a further five properties to come in the country.

Earlier this year, Lufthansa announced that it would begin a summer schedule to Gdansk, its first ever and another sign of the region's increasing tourism potential. Hungarian airline WizzAir also introduced regular flights between Gdansk and Barcelona in April 2010.

Poland is to be the official partner country of ITB Berlin, the world's largest tourism fair, next year, which will further highlight the country as a viable tourism destination.

In 2012, Poland and Ukraine will host Euro 2012, the 14th European Football Championship, which is expected to generate a surge of visitors to both countries.

http://www.hilton.com

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