U.S. travel agents met in Poznań

The first edition of the European Travel Agent Forum was staged in Poznań on 10-14 November. Close to 100 U.S. travel agencies specialising in selling European destinations met with the Old World tourism industry. Polish Tourism Organisation and LOT Polish Airlines acted as the event’s partners.


The forum was designed by Travel Show Marketing Group specialising in worldwide organisation of trade shows and workshops. Attended by more than 1,000 U.S. travel agents and twice as many delegates of the travel sector, the Travel Agent Forum is its flagship event.

“Our experience in producing successful tourism events, including the Travel Agent Forum, is paying off with a growing number of European exhibitors. This is why we decided to make them the focus of the Poznań-based event. ETAF will certainly become another highly successful platform enabling service suppliers and travel agencies to meet and expand their operations”, assured Jim Cloonan, President of Travel Show Marketing Group.

The two days were filled by table meetings between the European travel industry and U.S. agents. Seven minute-long individual meetings were aimed at showcasing and selling offers. The forum also involved presentations and lectures.

“As more and more U.S. tourists are interested in travelling to Europe, including Poland, our agents wish to learn more about this particular destination. After spending several days here I must admit that this is a truly beautiful country. Some agents had the pleasure to admire Poland during pre-show tours, while others will participate in post-show trips which seem particularly crucial in the context of selling offers”, adds Greg Sarwa, President of European American Tourism Association, co-organiser of the Forum.

“We have been flying U.S. tourists and the Polish American community for many years now. They travel to Poland for leisure or to take advantage of the local medical tourism offer (dental treatments and sanatoria stays are particularly popular). In addition, they meet their family members or do business. Poland’s 2018 trade with the U.S. grew to 13.4 billion USD, by 2.2 billion USD since 2017” emphasised Michał Fijoł, Chief Commercial Officer, LOT Polish Airlines, who went to add that the carrier is continuously increasing the number of commercial flights as currently the only airline to offer direct flights between the U.S. and Poland. “The visa waiver programme is another facilitation for our passengers. Ever since its launch, travellers increasingly often search for flights connecting the two destinations. More Poles are planning to visit their family and friends, sightsee national parks, etc. Polish-speaking flight attendants are our major advantage appreciated by many passengers”.

In the last four years LOT doubled its offer of flights to and from the U.S. The frequency of regular flights was increased and new routes launched to, i.a. Newark (New York metropolitan area), Los Angeles and Miami. What is more, flights from Warsaw to San Francisco and from Kraków to NYC’s John F. Kennedy International Airport will be introduced next year.

“We consider it a true privilege to be a partner of the European Travel Agent Forum. Personally I appreciate face-to-face meetings and the opportunity for U.S. travel agents to visit Poland and see the assets of our country. The discussed undertaking is remarkably valuable from the perspective of promoting Poland as an attractive tourist and economic destination for U.S. guests”, added Michał Fijoł.

“I am very pleased that we managed to bring such an important event to Poland. Each year about half a million U.S. tourists visit us, making the U.S. our key non-European market. Successive flights launched by Poland’s flag carrier LOT Polish Airlines make it possible to further boost the arrival numbers from the U.S. It was a pleasure for our organisation to become a partner of the event, which we applied for the purposes of promoting Poland”, said Robert Andrzejczyk, President of Polish Tourism Organisation.

“The forum of U.S. travel agents in Poznań is a great success of our city and, importantly, the result of continued efforts in this particular market. Today, U.S. tourists constitute the fourth largest group of foreign travellers visiting the city. What is more, I am absolutely positive that increasingly close cooperation with the U.S. travel industry will additionally increase their numbers in the nearest future”, argued Jan Mazurczak, CEO of Poznań Tourism Organisation, an official partner of the Forum.

Indeed, U.S. residents are increasingly enthusiastic about visiting Poland. Last year their number amounted to 522,000, 5.5% more than in the year before. Furthermore, they belong to the most sought-after group of tourists, who stay in upscale hotels, dine in restaurants and, most importantly, on average spend more than 16 days in their target destination. According to estimates for this and next year, the new flights introduced by LOT Polish Airlines, our national carrier, are expected to additionally improve these already impressive figures.

Do góry