A year of helping polish travel agents equals their annual VAT

According to the Polish Association of Tourist Agents, in Poland agents pay about PLN 135 million to the budget annually. The possible cost of annual aid for them would be about the same.

Aid costs

PATA calculated that the benefit in the amount of PLN 2,080 for each month of downtime is an expense of: 2,500 offices x PLN 2,000 = PLN 5 million per month. Abolition of social security contributions in the amount of approximately PLN 1,400 per employee: 8,360 employees x PLN 1,500 = approximately PLN 12.5 million.

PATA emphasizes that these calculations were still valid this summer, but since then probably around 15 percent of companies have closed. This mainly applied to entities that did not meet the Polish Development Fund aid criteria, did not qualify for the payment of standstill benefits or social security fee redemptions.

Taking this into account, OSAT assumes that the costs of aid programs for the state budget are: – about PLN 3 million per month for the downtime benefit – about PLN 9 million per month for the cancellation of premiums, i.e. a total of PLN 12 million per month.

Measurable benefits of the aid

At the same time, PATA emphasizes that revenues from the sale of the travel offer of the twenty largest tour operators in Poland amount to approximately PLN 10 billion. Assuming that about 65 percent. of this goes to travel agents, it turns out that this sales channel is responsible for approximately PLN 6.5 billion in sales.

According to PATA, if the average percentage of commission fluctuates around 9 percent, the agents ‘revenues from the sale of tour operators’ offers are PLN 580 million. And this, in turn, means that agents pay approximately PLN 135 million per year to the budget due to VAT alone.

PATA in a letter addressed to Deputy Prime Minister Jarosław Gowin indicates that each subsequent month of assistance for agents, in the amount of PLN 12 million, is only one tenth of what this sector paid to the budget only in terms of VAT per year.

Agents determine the strength of the market

According to the estimates of PATA, travel agents are responsible for about 65-70 percent of sales in Poland.

Tourist agencies are companies operating on the market for an average of 15 years. 14.71 percent of them exist 21 or more years, 38.42 percent. – between 11 and 20 years, and 46.68 percent – less than 10 years.

Most of them, 73.57 percent, are sole proprietorships. 15.26 percent among travel agents are civil partnerships, 8.77 percent – limited liability companies and 3 percent – other forms.

On average, each of the travel agencies employs 3.3 people, and 3.1 pays social security contributions.

How many travel agents are there in Poland?

According to the MerlinX system, 2,380 agents are active. Except that not all agents use this system, about 10 percent – no. On the other hand, the Central Statistical Office calculates the number of activities that have a tourist agent entered in the PKD at 2,800. However, this includes the number of companies that do not conduct agency activities. Thus, according to PATA, it can be assumed that the number of active travel agents in Poland is about 2.5 thousand.

Considering that they employ an average of 3.3 people, and to this we should add a certain number of people working in the Travelplanet.pl and Holidays.pl agency offices – the agents employ about 9,000 people. 93 percent of them, i.e. 8,370, have paid social security contributions.

Agents are indispensable in the market

According to market research, practically 80 percent. the travel agents are women. This industry is one of those that statistically activates one of the largest percentages of women professionally. Nearly 70 percent from agency offices operates individually, not being part of large franchise and tour operator networks.

As PATA emphasizes, they are family businesses, micro-enterprises permanently embedded in the local tissue, operating on average for over a dozen years. Especially in the era of turbulence such as the Arab Spring or the COVID-19 pandemic, the importance of travel agents is becoming apparent. None of the tour operators is able to handle such a huge number of cancellations, postponed dates and vouchers with their own resources.

Request for help

According to a survey conducted on November 1, 2020 among travel agents, this year they recorded a decrease in revenues of 85 percent compared to the same period of 2019.

In a letter addressed to Deputy Prime Minister Jarosław Gowin, PATA emphasizes that thanks to agents, ZUS contributions are paid for 8,370 employees. Due to the fact that at least until March 2021, travel agents will be practically deprived of gainful employment opportunities, and revenues will be lower by an average of 80 percent compared to the previous year, PATA asks the ministry to grant further aid packages that will not be binding with a large budget drain, and at the same time save thousands of jobs.

So far, travel agents have been granted parking and exemption from social security payments for six months – for three as part of the first “shield”, available to everyone, and for another three as part of the “sector shield”, amended in October.

OSAT conducted a survey among 500 agents. The author of the research is the vice president of PATA, Marcin Chiliński.