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    Winter holidays win against the pandemic, despite high prices

    This could be a record-breaking holiday in the country, as long as the next wave of pandemics doesn’t bring new restrictions. Bookings – especially last-minute ones – are on the rise and there are more than twice as many as before the pandemic, although prices against 2019 have increased by an average of 15%, according to an analysis of the platform.

    Holidays in Poland are gaining momentum. This week the winter holidays began for students from Podlaskie and Warmińsko-Mazurskie Voivodeships, joining their colleagues from Kujawsko-Pomorskie, Lubuskie, Małopolskie, Świętokrzyskie and Wielkopolskie Voivodeships. If they chose to spend time away from home, many of them will meet in the mountains. Zakopane, Wisla, Karpacz and Szklarska Poreba are traditionally the most popular holiday destinations.


    “Compared to 2019, we saw an increase in bookings of up to 130%,” says Natalia Jaworska, expert. As she points out, the vast majority of bookings were made in December 2021, with a steady increase in the following weeks. – It’s very typical of this season: we leave the decision to leave until the last minute. Before the pandemic, we were happy to book accommodations three months or even six months in advance. The uncertain surrounding, potential restrictions has changed the behaviour of travellers,” Jaworska explains.


    Waiting until the last minute, however, makes it increasingly difficult to find great deals. Already the occupancy rate until the end of the holidays in Szklarska Poreba is 84%, in Wisła and Bukowina Tatrzańska 82%, in Koscielisko and Zakopane 77%, and in Bialka Tatrzanska only 10% of vacancies remain.


    This in turn affects prices. Therefore, the average cost of winter holidays in Zakopane – including four nights for a family of four – is over 1500 PLN. With a similar expense must reckon planning a trip to Kościelisko. It is slightly cheaper in Wisła and Karpacz, where the average price per night for one person is at the level of 77-78 PLN.


    City break trips are also popular. There are as many as three times as many as in 2019. Most are three-day stays, and the average price per person per night is 92 zł in Krakow, 87 zł in Wroclaw and 85 zł in Gdansk.


    It is worth noting that the popularity of apartments is maintained. In 2022, the most bookings are in apartments (up 200% from 2019). It’s a trend from the pandemic – we’re most likely to choose places that allow us to keep a relative distance from other vacationers. Hence the decline in the share of hotel bookings. This is down as much as 40% for the holidays relative to 2019.


    It is also worth noting that hoteliers also protect themselves against the possibility of further restrictions, so they often expect even a hundred per cent prepayment for the stay during the holidays. However, you can find places with a required 30% down payment.


    “Hoteliers want to make sure guests get there, and in the case of a lockdown, they’d rather return prepayments or reschedule than lose the chance to profit from the winter travel frenzy of Poles,” Jaworska stressed, adding that venue owners continue to encourage the use of travel vouchers.

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