Forests more open for tourism in Poland – a chance for specialized local tour operators?

One of the few positive pieces of information for tourism during the pandemic comes from the State Forests. Will it give impetus to local operators/enthusiasts? MICE will also gain?

One of the tourist information that aroused the greatest media attention last week. Well, the State Forests announced the extension of the program allowing for legal accommodation in the forest.

Successful Responsible Tourism – Survival and bushkrafts groups are growing (as partners too)

The decisions of the State Forests were received with great joy among all kinds of survival and bushkraft groups whose popularity is growing due to the pandemic. Equipment manufacturers are also happy, the Warsaw-based Lesovik, himself actively involved in the promotion of responsible forest tourism.

It should be emphasized that the State Forests are very satisfied with the pilot of the program. Forest tourists turned out to be extremely responsible. Pro-ecological awareness in this group is really high. Can this type of tourism complement the classic offer?

Until now, survival bases were often on private land, now the choice of accommodation may be greater.

Forest infrastructure supporting survival activities in private areas, including “houses in trees”, looked after by Łukasz Tulej in the Kampinos National Park. Near the magnificent “Strawberry Stables”.

The situation was no different in the case of a forest kitchen specialist from the vicinity of Skierniewice. Katarzyna Mikulska conducted most of the classes within her estate – Miejska Knieja. The same was true of the base for forest activities that the dynamic local operator WawaGra (currently Południk21) has in the Kozienice Forests.

Now the field for showing off may be greater. Of course, LPs will not allow for “survival housing”, but just opening more locations for survival accommodation will do a good job.

Can travel agencies benefit from it – MICE / Events segment

There is certainly also a chance for small local operators to include forest adventures in their offer. More locations will increase choice and eliminate logistical constraints. Naturally, it is necessary to cooperate with people prepared to lead this type of group, they are to provide survival workshops. An encouraging example of the aforementioned Łukasz and Katarzyna shows that there are such people on the market.

Besides, local trips are already enjoying growing popularity, in Warsaw they are successfully organized by the aforementioned intimate WawaGra office. Last weekend, the Night Trekking Night of the Owls 2021 gathered a large group of volunteers.

Can larger players get involved in such activities? It is possible, but more difficult. You can imagine additional trips in holiday offers in Poland, organized by the biggest players. In this case, however, the question of distance will be decisive. If the accommodation facility is close to designated places, it may make sense.

Hotels may also become involved in this type of activity (in cooperation with local tourist offices). A separate group that can take advantage of this opportunity are Mice / Event offices. Some of them, such as Polka Travel, have already bet on the Polish product, creating the WOW land brand. Now it’s time for a survival offer based on new opportunities.

The fashion for the forest will not fade away – it is worth investing in a product whose popularity will grow

The pandemic has significantly increased the interest in excursions in the immediate vicinity. There is also a significant interest in the forest and publications indicating the healing power of trees. Forest bathing straight from Japan will become more and more popular. This trail goes, among others associated with the red maples of the Rogów Arboretum. Which in this winter season has made new walking paths available in its area.

One cannot help but notice the growing popularity of publications related to this subject. The figure of Simona Kossak, who lived in harmony with nature in the very heart of the Białowieża Forest, is also being remembered. We also have a lot of new publications related to, among others, birds. Niche publications such as Paśny Buriat are trying to grow.

Undoubtedly, all of this bodes well. The positive attitude of the State Forests makes us very happy and allows us to look for a much-needed compromise between tourism and other goals of the existence of forests. The former, i.e. forest tourism, can play an important role in neutralizing the negative mental effects of the pandemic.

This function could also be supported in its activities by the Polish Tourist Organization. Support for a tool for small operators(Touriosity) could help them. Promote products and reach customers, e.g. from the MICE segment. It is worth betting on enthusiasts such as the aforementioned Łukasz Tulej, Katarzyna Mikulska or the WawaGra band (now Południk21). On the basis of such people, it is also possible (with the support of the Polish Tourist Organization) to educate young, future and innovative employees of travel sector.

Touriosity a tool to support local tour operators offer – needed also in countries like Poland