Euro 2012 soccer tournament expects Chinese tourists

Poland is hoping to attract Chinese tourists to visit the European country when it hosts the Euro 2012 soccer tournament later this year.

Authorities are hoping that Chinese people, who tend to choose more familiar western European countries as their destinations for shopping and sightseeing, will turn their attention to the culture-rich and soccer-mad nation from June 8 to July 1.

Some hard-core fans and Europe-oriented companies have joined tourism agencies to provide trips to Poland that will include Euro 2012 matches.

According to Shankai Sports, a sports marketing company providing sports business solutions and services for international organizations and companies, it has the right to provide VIP reception packages for Chinese businessmen and major companies that are interested in using Euro 2012 as a platform to expand their influence as well as to entertain important clients.

“Chinese companies are aware of the importance of taking advantage of major sports events,” said Gong Hua, senior vice-president of Shankai Sports. “Euro 2012 is a huge chance for them to expand their brand and have exchanges with potential partners from Poland and other European countries.

“Many members of the Chinese media are also going to Poland to cover the event. We also provide services in terms of visa application and accommodation for them.”

The Polish Embassy in China has also been making efforts to use Euro 2012 to promote the image of the nation.

“I have to confess – I am not much of a football fan myself. I prefer golf and skiing. But I can tell you – it is going to be a great, joyful festival, even for those who are not really crazy about football,” the Polish ambassador, Tadeusz Chomicki, told a press conference in the embassy recently.

“For a month our country will transform itself into a meeting place for people from all corners of the world.

Chomichi said Poland hopes to emulate the success of the Beijing Olympic Games.

“It is an opportunity for the host country to showcase its achievements, its economic and cultural strengths, and the hospitability of its people. I hope that, just like the Beijing Olympics in 2008 helped to show the world the new, dynamic, modern face of China and overcome many stereotypes, Euro 2012 will help present Poland in a true light.”

Minister of Sports and Tourism Joanna Mucha also sent out a warm invitation to Chinese people and said she hopes they will come to know more about her country.

“Chinese football fans are invited to the modern stadiums to experience emotional football games, excellent Polish cuisine and tourist attractions.”

To make the trip simple and cheap, LOT Polish Airlines will open a Warsaw-Beijing route from May 30 using its Boeing 767 aircraft.

The flights will operate between Warsaw and Beijing three times a week, departing from Warsaw every Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday, and from Beijing every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

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