On 15 May 2023, the Polish Congress Ambassadors Gala took place at the Courtyard by Marriott Gdynia Waterfront Hotel. This important event is part of the Polish Congress Ambassadors Programme, which is jointly implemented by the Polish Tourism Organisation (PTO) and the Polish Conference and Congress Association (PCCA). The objective of the programme is to attract congresses to Poland and to provide effective assistance in bringing such events to our country by Polish professionals, such as scientists and experts from various industries, who operate within the structures of international organisations. During the gala, ambassadors and patrons were recognised for their efforts in 2020-2021.
This year’s gala, the first held in the region of Pomerania, was organised jointly by Poland Convention Bureau – Meetings and Events Office of the Polish Tourism Organisation, the Polish Conference and Congress Association and the City of Gdynia. Guests were welcomed by the President of Gdynia, Wojciech Szczurek, and the Vice-President, Katarzyna Gruszecka-Spychała. Later, honorary statuettes were given to new ambassadors and patrons. The event, hosted by Krzysztof Dąbrowski, also featured performances of the actors from the Musical Theatre.
“I am convinced that the Polish Congress Ambassadors Gala, which took place in Gdynia, will bring long-term benefits for the city as an attractive place to organise congresses and business meetings. Not only the location of the event, but also numerous attractions offered by Gdynia, contributed to the unique character of the gala. Great views, modern facilities, high quality services and excellent tourist infrastructure all meant that the participants could fully appreciate the charm of our city – “a city of the sea and dreams”, said Wojciech Szczurek, President of Gdynia.
“I believe it is easiest for every ambassador to fulfil their role when they are sincerely in love with what they promote on the outside and consider it the best thing to show to others, to encourage them to come here and experience how fantastic Poland is. I am very glad that Gdynia, which we have been promoting as a meeting city for years, can host such a gala, because I believe that it has such an extraordinary charm and such an amazing genius loci that the ambassadors who came here will be able to easily encourage the largest, most prestigious congresses to appear in our city”, said Katarzyna Gruszecka-Spychała.
“The Ambassadors Programme, which we have been developing together for 25 years as PCCA and PTO, has 300 ambassadors. This number grew in Gdynia, as 34 new ambassadors and patrons have been honoured. We are grateful to them for their efforts and for the fact that thanks to them we have congresses and conferences in Poland, hoping that the coming years will inspire more representatives of the world of science and business partners to support us in this process”, said Paula Fanderowska, President of PCCA.
The Monday gala was hosted by Rafał Szmytke, President of the Polish Tourism Organisation, and Paula Fanderowska, President of the Polish Conferences and Congresses Association.
“The Ambassadors Programme is a globally known mechanism which engages outstanding people, valued in their professional circles – be it scientific, business or cultural – to promote a given country as a place where international events are worth organising”, explained Rafał Szmytke. “Poland has many such personalities, who hold high positions in European and global organisations and institutions, influencing their functioning and plans. And congresses and conferences are closely connected with the whole sphere of business tourism. This, in turn, is the most profitable part of tourism. Suffice it to say that before the pandemic, in 2019, it was this segment of tourism that brought more than 65 percent of the total amount of revenues from tourism.”
“The Ambassador Programme provides our representatives with organisational support. Furthermore, it makes sure that if they win an event for Poland, the whole organisational side will be taken care of by people responsible for the meetings industry – whether in our Poland Convention Bureau or in local convention bureaux. Poland has many excellent modern venues as well as hotel and food facilities that make it possible to organise any event. However, this is not always common knowledge in the world. Thanks to our ambassadors, the world learns about it. They are building the brand of Poland as a country where it is worth to organise a congress or conference”, said Rafał Szmytke.
“Today’s gala has a special character as it is being held after a hiatus caused by the pandemic and in the face of the ongoing armed attack by Russia on Ukraine, our neighbour. We remember all those who suffered during this terrible period and we pay our respect to them. The foundations of the meetings industry have been shaken, but it has turned out to be so strong and well-organised in Poland that with a doubled strength, with new opportunities, it returns to business as usual. An important role is played by the unquestionable assets of our country, and apart from its beauty, these are our exceptional human capital and patronage of companies and institutions. Even though the financial expenditures in Poland on science, sport and culture are much lower than in many other countries, we can be proud of our achievements. International organisations and their delegates recognise this potential and they invest well by coming to us”, wrote Prof. Marek Pawełczyk, a corresponding member of the Polish Academy of Sciences, Chairman of the Chapter of Polish Congress Ambassadors.
Polish Congress Ambassadors 2020
- Szymon Bakalczuk, M.D., Independent Public Clinical Hospital No. 1 in Lublin
- Natalia Bloch, Institute of Anthropology and Ethnology of the Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań
- Krzysztof Celuch, Vistula School of Hospitality in Warsaw
- Artur Jarmołowski, Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań
- Jan Kawaler, M.A., Polish Association of Pigeon Breeders
- Tomasz Tadeusz Koncewicz, Faculty of Law and Administration, University of Gdańsk
- Zbigniew Kowalewski, Institute of Fundamental Technological Research of the Polish Academy of Sciences
- Mieczysław Kuczma, Poznań University of Technology
- Michał Markuszewski, D.Pharm., Medical University of Gdańsk
- Maria Mazurkiewicz-Bełdzińska, M.D., Division of Developmental Neurology, Department of Neurology, Medical University of Gdańsk
- Marta Misiuk-Hojło, M.D., Department and Clinic of Ophthalmology at the Wrocław Medical University
- Józef Pacyna, AGH University of Science and Technology (professor emeritus)
- Paweł Panczyj, M.A., Association of Business Service Leaders
- Jan Pomorski, Maria Curie-Skłodowska University in Lublin
- Piotr Richter, M.D., I Department of General Surgery, Jagiellonian University Medical College
- Dariusz Starowicz, M.A., StarComp Dariusz Starowicz / Invest Cuffs Foundation
- Piotr Sula, University of Wrocław
- Tomasz Urbanek, M.D., Medical University of Silesia, Department and Clinic of General Surgery, Vascular Surgery, Angiology and Phlebology
- Adam Weintrit, M.M., Gdynia Maritime University
- Włodzimierz Zieniutycz, Gdańsk University of Technology
Polish Congress Patrons 2020
- Marcin Wenus, FX Expert Marcin Wenus (Comparic.pl)
- Maciej Plebanek, Novartis Poland
- Maciej Jaskot, Olimp Laboratories
- Anna Ziobroń, PKN Orlen S.A.
Ambassadors of Polish Congresses 2021
- Eng. Piotr Bielaczyc, PhD, BOSMAL Automotive Research and Development Institute
- Eng. Krzysztof Burnecki, PhD, Faculty of Mathematics, Wrocław University of Technology
- Prof. Andrzej Chmielewski, Institute of Nuclear Chemistry and Technology
- Dr. Barbara Jasiewicz, M.D., Chair of Orthopedics, Department of Orthopedics and Rehabilitation, Jagiellonian University Medical College
- Prof. Marek Jóźwiak, M.D., Department of Pediatric Orthopedics and Traumatology
- Prof. Wojciech Kujawski, Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń, Faculty of Chemistry
- Prof. Agnieszka Merkisz-Guranowska, Director of the Institute of Transport, Faculty of Civil Engineering and Transport, Poznań University of Technology
- Prof. Maria Mielnik-Błaszczak, M.D., Chair and Department of Developmental Age Dentistry, Medical University of Lublin
- Dr. Anna Wałek, Gdańsk University of Technology
- Dr Anna Wałek, Politechnika Gdańska
Apart from the Gala, the organisers prepared an interesting idea for spending free time before and after the event. Thanks to this, the guests could get to know the city better and enjoy the attractions. Among others, they could watch the musical Something Rotten! at the Musical Theatre, visit the Museum of Gdynia, the Emigration Museum, and the Planetarium of the Maritime University, sail on a boat with a skipper from Super Yachts Club Gdynia, take a nordic walking tour along the seaside, try stand up paddle boarding or take a trolleybus tour accompanied by the guide Michał Miegoń.
Co-organising the gala aims to promote the city and create the image of Gdynia as an attractive destination on the tourist map of the country and the Baltic Sea region, and further strengthen its position as a meeting city on the national and international markets. It also intends to grow elements of tourist infrastructure as well as the rich cultural and tourist offer. These are some of the priority objectives indicated in the Gdynia Development Strategy until 2030.
The partners of the Polish Congress Ambassadors Gala were:
- Gdańsk Airport Management
- Gdańsk Convention Bureau
- Sopot Tourism Organisation
- Courtyard by Marriott Gdynia Waterfront Hotel
- Port Gdynia Brewery
The Polish Congress Ambassadors Gala
The Polish Congress Ambassadors Gala is a program co-organised by the Polish Tourism Organisation and the Polish Conference and Congress Association. The aim of the programme is to promote Poland as an attractive place for international congresses and conferences. The Polish Congress Ambassadors Programme focuses on obtaining congresses and conferences for Poland and providing effective assistance in attracting these events to our country. Participants of the programme are Polish scientists and professionals from various industries, working in the structures of international organisations. Similar ambassador programmes are used in other countries as a place marketing tool.
So far, the title of Ambassador of Polish Congresses has been awarded to 300 people, and the Project Chapter, consisting of eminent figures of the Polish world of science, economy and culture, is elected every three years. The Chapter selects a group of Ambassadors of Polish Congresses, who in their international circles promote and disseminate knowledge about Poland’s strengths, contributing to the decision to choose our country as the place of the next international event.
photo: Mateusz Dietrich; source: Gdynia City Hall, RP Turystyka, own materials