Business or pleasure? Both, says Gdańsk
In 30 years, the birthplace of the Solidarity movement has transformed into a holiday and business destination for visitors from Poland and abroad. With new investments – including a Holiday Inn Hotel – cropping up and even more in the pipeline, Gdańsk is becoming an ideal place for work and leisure.
Under the leadership of Mayor Aleksandra Dulkiewicz, Gdańsk is on schedule with a number of projects ranging from a spa and a reservoir to larger investments including a stadium and a bridge. “Spectacular buildings from recent years have not only contributed to increasing Gdańsk’s investment attractiveness but have also helped to make the city a recognised business destination,” said Dulkiewicz before officially opening the latest flagship building in the seaside city, the Holiday Inn Gdansk City Centre. “The creation of facilities such as the European Solidarity Centre, the Shakespeare Theatre, the Ergo-Arena and the world’s only ‘Amber Stadium’ has led more and more people to choose Gdańsk as a business or tourist destination,” she added.
Over 3 million people visited Gdańsk last year, a 17% increase over 2017, according to the Gdańsk Tourism Organization. Although Poles are still the majority of those who flock to the seaside city, 31% of visitors came from abroad, mostly from Germany, Scandinavian countries and Great Britain. Half of the overall visitors chose the city as a holiday destination, while roughly 10% were there for business.
In 2018, 1,803 business events took place in the Pomorskie Voivodeship and 81% of them were organised in Gdańsk, according to the Gdańsk Convention Bureau. Overall, the seaside region is a popular destination for entrepreneurial events, trade expos, conferences, and corporate events. The number of participants at these events increased by 47% since 2014, but there’s still room for improvement. The region is ranked fifth among Polish business destinations and only 9.7% of events were from outside of Poland.
Considering 34% of visitors prefer to stay in hotels over any other form of accommodation, the hotel industry is expanding its offer in the city. This summer, the Intercontinental Hotels Group opened its first Holiday Inn in Gdańsk on the historic Granary Island, a new development realised by UBM Development that has helped to revitalise the former trading port on the Motława River. In addition to the hotel, the project includes hundreds of apartments, a new marina, and a promenade. Karin Sheppard, IHG’s Managing Director for Europe, said, “Thanks to its unique location within the city, conference space and dining options, this hotel will have a big impact in the growing economy of Gdańsk, providing true hospitality to business and leisure travellers alike.”
At the grand opening ceremony, Sheppard said that the hotel is a testament to the growth that they as IHG, a global company, see in Poland. “Poland is the eighth largest economy within the EU and for us, it’s an absolute catalyst for growth in hotels,” she added. “We’ve opened five hotels in the last three years, which talks about the taste of development and the interest in hotel investment in Poland. In fact, we have another 18 in the pipeline, so for us, the market in Poland is one that we see great opportunities for our brands.”
Union Investment, a longstanding customer of UBM, will take ownership of the hotel in the 3rd quarter of 2019. “The northern end of the historic Granary Island is a first-class hotel location at the centre of public attention, and Holiday Inn is an IHG brand with high international recognition. With the excellent quality of its construction, the Holiday Inn Gdansk City Centre represents an excellent fit with our broadly diversified hotel portfolio,” said Volker Noack, member of the Management Board of Union Investment Real Estate GmbH.