ZOPOT in New York: do not plan trips to Poland. ZOPOT’s head threatened with dismissal
New York City / photo. Dimitry Anikin / Unsplash
By skift.com specializing in news from tourism in the broadest sense of the word, there was a text about the uncertainty of the Polish tourism industry related to the war in Ukraine. Among the statements, there was one by the head of ZOPOT in New York, Magdalena Zelazowska, who advises against planning trips to Poland. Recall that ZOPOT is responsible for tourism promotion of Poland in North America. Minister Gut-Mostowy motions for termination of Magdalena Żelazowska’s contract.
Quoted by skift.com, Magdalena Żelazowska, director of the Polish Tourist Organization’s foreign center in New York, said: “We take security very seriously and the first thing we have to realize is whether it is safe to invite travelers to Poland,”
“I would not advise planning to leave now – however, in a few months, hopefully this situation will be fully contained and we will be ready,” he said.
Continuing with this bizarre statement, Zelazowska added that Polish hotels are now focusing on welcoming refugees, offering them jobs, resigning from taking bookings and for the hotel sector the vacations will be a big challenge.”
Asked for a comment, Anna Salamończyk-Mochel, p.o. president of the Polish Tourist Organisation, is clearly of a different opinion than her employee. She emphasized: “The statement of the representative of the ZOPOT in New York Magdalena Żelazowska concerning the safety of arrivals to Poland is incompatible with the communication strategy and activities carried out by the Polish Tourist Organization. Since the beginning of the conflict behind our eastern border, we have been informing through our communication channels and foreign centers of the Polish Tourist Organization that Poland is a safe country and no military operations are taking place on our territory. Guests, especially from more distant markets, have a right to feel anxious, especially as the media coverage emphasizes the proximity of the conflict, but our job is to provide reliable information about the current situation, not to escalate anxiety. This is what we do at the PTO – we inform our foreign partners about the current situation in Poland, we develop offers and update information campaigns so that travelers know that they can still experience the best that Poland has to offer, we are open to everyone, and Polish hospitality is not just a one-time thing to help Ukrainian citizens, but part of our culture and tradition
Leszek Ostaszewski, a member of the management board of Travel Projekt, which specializes in incoming tourism to Poland, told the WaszTurystyka.pl: “The statement of Ms. Żelazowska from ZOPOT New York is very harmful to the Polish tourism industry. The war in Ukraine is obviously a great national tragedy for Ukraine and a topic we must not forget or get used to.
However, advising against or planning trips to Poland is inappropriate.
Travel Project, in response to the current situation and concerns of many contractors about the ongoing war in Ukraine, organized a fam-trip to Poland and hosted, with the support of WOT and ŁOT, a group of customers from Germany and Switzerland on 31.03.-03.04.22. They were able to see for themselves that it was safe, that the hotel industry, catering and tourist attractions were working normally, and they could even hear personally from Ukrainians they met by chance their gratitude and joy for the help they received in Poland. We deliberately planned the trip from Warsaw to Lodz by train so that guests could see that despite such a large number of refugees, the stations and railroads function normally and one can travel safely and comfortably. And in addition, guests were able to enjoy the freedom of movement following the lifting of covidian restrictions. Despite the ongoing war in Ukraine, we should continue to communicate that Poland as a NATO country and EU member is safe and worth visiting at any time”.
We have unofficially learned that Magdalena Żelazowska ran in the competition for the director of the ZOPOT in New York, announced this year by the PTO. Before taking office p.o. director of ZOPT in New York, she worked in the e-information department of the PTO. Previously she was also a travel blogger and author of articles in “Poznaj Świat” magazine and Wirtualna Polska portal.
Minister Andrzej Gut-Mostowy reacted to the article with a motion to terminate the contract with Magdalena Żelazowska. On Twitter he wrote: “In reference to the unacceptable statement of the representative of ZOPOT in New York Magdalena Żelazowska regarding the safety of arrivals to Poland, I have requested to p.The President of the Polish Tourist Organisation, Anna Salamończyk-Mochel, has requested the termination of her contract with the head of the ZOPOT in New York. ZOPOT USA in immediate action.”