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Pearls of the Polish Economy

European markets. Spending holiday abroad is no longer a luxury. It has become much more affordable than just a few years ago. Thanks to our varied range of tourist services, clients can pick a holiday not only in line with their interests but also in line with their budgets. The market has been divided up among top players who determine its shape. The market is stable. There are no spectacular bankruptcies. The industry enjoys the confidence of Polish clients. The summer of 2017 was definitely one of the best seasons for the industry. Record sales were achieved, which confirmed the fact that the number of customers who seek tour operators’ help in organising their holidays is growing. They realise it’s worth it. Itaka’s share in the Polish tourist market amounts to 34%. This means that one in three clients of Polish travel agencies pick Itaka. The company’s development means new holiday destinations. What’s new in what you offer this year? We were the first in Poland to introduce several dozen new destinations served by charter flights. They are still in demand. On the one hand, our customers like trendy destinations, but those who go on holiday more than once a year look for new products and fresh experiences. A new product may come in the shape of a new destination, yet due to the present geopolitical situation, the geographical scope of the existing offering and infrastructure requirements, the number of new destinations is limited. Hence our latest product: the Canary Odyssey, part of the Itaka cruise offering. It’s a unique product on the Polish market. For the first time in history, a Polish tour operator charters an entire cruise ship. The cruise season lasts from November 7, 2017 to April 3, 2018. The Canary Odyssey encompasses eight different cruises taking in six Canary Islands. The Canary Odyssey, aboard the Ocean Majesty, encompasses eight different cruises visiting six Canary Islands. The itinerary of three cruises includes also Madera or Agadir. Each of the cruises comes with a range of optional tours starting in each port of call. The demand for the cruises is high. The reviews are very positive, so we’re now working on cruises for the 2018 summer season. For Itaka’s 29th summer season we have prepared more than 1,300 offers. There are seven new destinations, including five islands. The existing twelve Greek destinations, including ten islands, are joined by Chios, Limnos and Karpathos in the Aegean. Other new destinations are the Italian islands PM

of Ischia and Pantelleria. Macedonia and Montenegro are also new in the Itaka offer, marking the further development of Balkan destinations. Those travelling to Albania with Itaka can pick an exciting new destination, Ksamil beach with a truly Caribbean feel. More than 260 package tours have been prepared for the summer. For the sixth time families with children are invited to Friends of Itaka Clubs. They can also pick organised educational and entertainment tours. For the most discerning clients we have a selection of hotels from the Itaka&Gala project Travel like a star. For the third time we offering hotels for adults travelling without children. We are also expanding the Holiday without Barriers offer featuring hotels with facilities for the disabled. This year promises to be a major challenge for us. Between November 1, 2017 and October 30, 2018 we are planning to cater for the needs of one million clients. Current sales levels suggest that this target gets more and more realistic with each passing day. Since the company keeps growing, there are more and more of us. When we moved to our new headquarter five years ago, I was convinced that we would have enough room there for another decade. But the faster growth has prompted us to buy a new 400 square metre office in the centre of Opole which will provide enough room for 500 people. Next year we are planning to complete its refurbishment. Companies attach more and more attention to Corporate Social Responsibility. What’s your view on CSR? We operate in practically all areas of broadly defined CSR. Right from the start of its activities, Itaka has been involved in charities. It works in partnership with UNICEF, the Mam Marzenie (I Have a Dream) Foundation, the Omenaa Mensah Foundation and the Rafika Foundation. In our destinations we are introducing local tours during which visits to local communities are included. They are frequently combined with purchases of handicrafts and sampling of local cuisine. We have visibly reduced the sizes of printed catalogues, which only contain brief descriptions of hotels and tours. The full versions are available on the site. We work together with higher learning institutions in Opole to provide training schemes and to allow students to combine part-time work with their studies. We are an arts sponsor. We have a permanent relationship with the Modern Art Gallery in Opole. With the help of our teams, we promote healthy lifestyles through sponsoring

sports events all over Poland. We have created motivational programmes to offer incentives for worker commitment and good sales results. We subsidize subscription for Multisport cards and additional insurance for our employees. We organise study tours whose aim is not only to promote our services but also to showcase the scale of our operations, the specific features of our destinations, as well as allowing our teams to get integrated and to simply have fun. In 2017 there have been a dozen such incentive tours or more. The topic of holiday travel for people with limited mobility increasingly attracts the attention of tour operators. We have checked whether hotels we work with provide access for holidaymakers in wheelchairs. Those that do have been marked ‘hotels without barriers.’ The list of available facilities is included in hotel descriptions. Details concerning disabled access at Polish airports are available on theód site.


The dynamic development of technologies which make it very easy to organise one’s own trips abroad are forcing tour operators to seek innovative solutions. What innovations are you applying? Itaka is the owner of Axabee tech company, which develops innovative IT solutions, such as e-commerce platform using its own machine learning to personalize and automate direct marketing, booking systems or mobile applications. We have built a set of tools for support and automatization of processes on the whole customer’s journey: from finding an offering, through booking, getting information before departure, purchasing additional services, to sharing opinion with us and other customers after returning. The entire customer journey is omnichannel and supported equally in the mobile application, which is the most popular travel agency app in Polish App Store and Google Play and successfully competes with mobile applications of global booking platforms. Right now, one of the hottest topics in tourism is digital transformation around PM

12/2017  polish market


Profile for Polish Market

Polish Market No.12 (266)/2017  

Published on Jul 13, 2017 "Polish Market” is a prestigious English-language magazine published since 1996. In its pages, it promotes the Pol...

Polish Market No.12 (266)/2017  

Published on Jul 13, 2017 "Polish Market” is a prestigious English-language magazine published since 1996. In its pages, it promotes the Pol...