Kraków Chamber of Tourism was established on 4th April 1992 as one of Poland’s first organisations of economic self-government of the tourist sector. Declarations to join the Chamber were submitted by 54 businesses at the founding assembly.
As at August 6, 2019, the Chamber comprises 170 members. The first President of the KIT was Stanisław Piśko, who held the post for 7 years. The KIT chairman to serve the longest (7.5 years, from 2003 to 2011) was Marek Babuśka. In the meantime, the post was held by Jan Bączek (for one term: 1999–2002) and Andrzej Sierakowski (for half a term: from 2002 to 2003), Anna Jędrocha (2011-2017). Since 2017, the position of the President of the KIT has been held by Piotr Laskowski.
The goal of the activity of Cracow Chamber of Tourism is to focus on representing the interests of the sector before the organs of central, regional, and local authorities in matters related to building and furthering of conditions proper for the development of tourism in Kraków and Małopolska Region, modelling the tourist image of the region, creation of conditions for improving and expanding the standard of tourist services, and collaboration with similar organisations in other regions of Poland and abroad. The Chamber finds providing its opinion and consultations of drafts of significant acts and solutions concerning tourist economy (the acts on tourist services, VAT, and the protection of competition and consumers) an honour.
Already in the first year of our operation, we organised two tourist services fairs, which today continue in the form of the Kraków Tourist Salon. In 1993, we organised the first joint regional stand at the Berlin ITB Tourist Fair. In 1996, we hosted the 2nd Congress of Polish Travel Agencies, and in 2003, we organised the 1st Kraków Tourist Forum with participation of foreign tour operators and agents. All these were innovative projects, envied by other regions. Poland’s accession to the European Union and the Schengen zone posed new challenges for our Chamber. Although the number of tourists grew, travel agencies began to lose their share in the market. We began to use assistance funds. Beginning with 2009, as part of the Hospitable Małopolska (Małopolska Gościnna) Competition, we received financial support from the Małopolska Region to run study tours, workshops, training, and promotional campaigns. We appreciate the vast role of Internet in tourism, which is why we run two online services for tourists and tour organisers: Tasting Małopolska and Santo Subito Travel. For the need of the Polish Presidency in the EU Council, we opened an online portal selling local excursions: Discover Kraków & Małopolska.
Chamber of Tourism pays plenty of attention to the quality of the services offered. Held already in 1994 was the first round of Odys (i.e. Odysseus or Ulysses) Competition, whose jury awards annual prizes for the best quality of tourist services. Coorganisers of the competition are the Małopolska Region and the Municipal Office of the City of Kraków.
Since 2012, following the initiative of the Chairman of the Jury, Dr Krzysztof Borkowski, the decision to establish the Penelopa Quality Certificate for such lodging and accommodation facilities (Polish: obiekty noclegowe) in Małopolska Region that are not subject to categorisation.
Chamber of Tourism provides its members with support and consulting, while membership in the Chamber is a recommendation of quality. This year, we would like to conduct a study of needs and expectations of our members to target our activities better in the future. We continue to embark on attempts of deglomeration of tourism, so as to diminish the seasonal disproportions in our branch of economy. Our crucial goals include joint marketing, increased level of professionalism in client care, improvement of ethical and professional standards, mutual assistance and collaboration with other organisations in the sector, integration of the sector, and lobbying in matters important for the tourist sector.
Cracow Chamber of Tourism enters the third decade of its operation with a new image: we have a new logo, corporate profile on Facebook, and a modern and more functional website of the Chamber.
The mission of the Kraków Chamber of Tourism
Cracow Chamber of Tourism is an organisation of economic authorities, gathering entities operating in the tourist sector active in Kraków and Małopolska, whose common goal is to promote tourism as an important factor in the tourist development of the region. By promoting high standards, education, integration of the environment and representation of its interests, we want to build a tourist product with a powerful brand.