Business in Eastern Poland – Tourism

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The Strategy for Responsible Development places great emphasis on the responsible, socially and territorially sustainable development of our country. Due to the specific nature of Eastern Poland (Warmińsko-Mazurskie, Podlaskie, Lubelskie, Świętokrzyskie and Podkarpackie provinces), the region requires additional measures aimed at eliminating differences and boosting growth.

The “Business in Eastern Poland – Tourism” project is financed from the funds of the Minister of Finance, Funds and Regional Policy. The purpose of the project is to support businesses in Eastern Poland active in the tourism and related industries, for example operating accommodation, catering, sports, cultural or health tourism facilities. Companies also invest in handicraft, production of green, regional products and tourist transport.

The unquestionable benefit of the Business in Eastern Poland – Tourism project is the use funds in the form of revolving capital. The project is a model example of re-use of funds from the contribution made under the Development of Eastern Poland Operational Programme (DEP OP 2007–2013), which was implemented in the least economically developed regions of Poland. Thanks to a revolving structure, the funds generate more benefits, because when they are paid out, they are repaid and increase the amount of support and the number of beneficiaries. In this case, EU funds brought clear and visible benefits to the inhabitants of Eastern Poland.

Additional preferences – lower interest rate and no own contribution required – are applied to facilities with the status of a “Cyclist-Friendly Place” and are located along the Eastern Green Velo Bicycle Route as well as to companies that operate for no more than two years.

Thanks to the loan for development of tourism, we provide businesses in Eastern Poland with additional investment capital to improve the quality and diversify the offer of tourist services, develop infrastructure and extend the tourist season.

By the end of 2021, 830 loans worth more than PLN 155 million were advanced. The most popular are loans in the accommodation and catering industry in the Lubelskie, Podkarpackie and Warmińsko-Mazurskie provinces.

Loans granted until the end of 2021 by the most frequently selected use

use of funds lubelskie podkarpackie podlaskie świętokrzyskie warmińsko-mazurskie number of loans
accommodation facilities 98 86 55 57 81 377
catering facilities 53 27 32 30 11 153
sports and recreation


25 15 15 10 23 88
medical tourism facilities 7 6 20 8 2 43
cultural and entertainment
3 2 2 1 8
tourist transport 9 3 2 3 3 20
tourism organisation
and tourism agency
7 1 3 1 4 16
ecological products 1 1 2 1 5
and traditional products, industrial design
1 4 1 6
restoring traditional professions – handicrafts
and craft industries
1 3 4
other investments in the tourism related industries consisting in expanding the offer, improving the quality of services provided directly to tourists 17 22 32 18 13 102
ensuring business continuity or safeguarding jobs in connection with the crisis in public health 7 1 8

Programme outcomes in 2021

One of the main effects of the project is an improved availability of funding for SMEs in the tourism sector. By the end of 2021, financing institutions signed 830 agreements with businesses for a total of PLN 155,639,087.09.

Example projects in 2021

Borrower: Hotel Loft Sp. z o.o.

Financing institution: Eastern Fund and Polish Entrepreneurship Foundation

The Loft 1898 Hotel is a place where history meets with modernity. Located at the heart of the Suwałki region, the building has many attractions to offer.

The history of the hotel dates back to 1898, when the military barracks for the tsar army were built. After regaining independence, the military barracks were used by the 2nd Grochów Uhlan Regiment of General Józef Dwernicki. After 1945, the barrack complex was allocated for the needs of the Polish People’s Army. The military unit used it until March 1990. In 2013, it was decided to transform the building into a hotel. It was opened in 2015. For seven years the hotel has been operating as one of the largest and most modern accommodation and catering facilities in north-eastern Poland.

Apart from the history, the Loft 1898 Hotel’s great asset is its location. The building is located in the picturesque heart of the Suwałki region, right next to national road No. 8. The Hotel offers 76 comfortably equipped, air-conditioned rooms. In total, there are 131 beds and two spacious conference and ball rooms that can accommodate, respectively, 140 and 280 guests.

The first loan for the development of tourism in the amount of PLN 500,000 obtained in June 2021 from the Eastern Fund was allocated for the project “Construction of a garage in the LOFT Hotel in Suwałki”. A garage for six cars and two covered parking spaces were built for the funding obtained. The garage has places adapted for motorcyclists, who account for a large proportion of guests from the Baltic countries in the summer season. The investment also involved the installation of electric vehicle charging stations. In November 2021, hotel owners obtained a second loan, also in the amount of PLN 500,000, from the Polish Entrepreneurship Foundation, for the project “Construction of a recreational pavilion”. The structure is located in green areas near the hotel. It is a place of integration meetings, commemorative events and restaurant activities. There are still plans to set up a campfire place, a tree cake oven, a bar and a grill. The green space on which the pavilion will be built will be rearranged. There will be more plants and trees there, which will refresh the area and make it significantly more attractive. It will be a place friendly to children and guests who wish to rest in the city centre.

Borrower: Konsekwencje Jolanta Jarecka

Financing institution: Polish Entrepreneurs Foundation

Jolanta Jarecka is a writer, poet, cultural animator and theatre director who, together with her husband, created a vibrant place in Zatwarnica in the Bieszczady Mountains, eagerly visited by tourists from all over Poland. Thanks to the loan for the development of tourism, the couple managed to save a Boyko house, which is a traditional wooden building intrinsically linked to the history of the region, in which tourists can stay today.

In 2015, the marriage opened the Końkret cinema in the last preserved Horse Park in the Bieszczady Mountains. It accommodated Ms Joanna’s workshop and a cafe. This turned out to be an excellent combination of culture, handicraft and history with a place where aromatic coffee and tea are served. A few years ago, Ms Joanna purchased a more than a century-old house – a Boyko house. Thanks to the loan for the development of tourism, the building has been completed, equipped and fitted with a zero-carbon heating system. The house has four rooms for two persons, one independent room with a kitchen annex, and a large common space, which includes a living room, kitchen and dining room. All rooms have bathrooms and the house is filled with old, renovated furniture, hand-made bathroom tiles, ceramic washbasins or tableware created in the workshop.

Borrower: F.H.U. LEKANS Sławomir Lekan

Financing institution: Biłgorajska Agencja Rozwoju Regionalnego S.A.

Sławomir Lekan created a family playground in Biłgoraj for children and parents who would like to spend some time together. Apart from offering amazing attractions, workshops for school and pre-school children are organised at the site. Mr Sławomir’s business was expanded thanks to a loan for the development of tourism.

Mr Sławomir has been running his business for more than 25 years, but initially it was focused mainly on trade. The next stage of business growth was the construction of a building in Biłgoraj where the owner decided to arrange a playroom for children in 2010. The business started to grow and in 2018 the playroom was moved to a different building. The new room had twice as much space as the previous one – approximately 600 m2, offering much greater opportunities. It was equipped with trampolines, zip lines, passageways, labyrinths, climbing walls and even a bouncy castle.

As there was quite a large plot of land adjacent to the new building, Mr Sławomir decided to also create an outdoor playground. Earlier, there was about a hectare of meadow in this place. Today, this area looks quite different. The outdoor playground is open from May to the end of September each season. Kids can plan on bouncy castles, trampolines and jungle gym and show their best in the aerial park. There are also two tubing slides, where thrill enthusiasts can slide down in inflated tyres, a trampoline for Eurobungee and bumper cars, which are a whole lot of fun just like in a fairground.

The loan for the development of tourism was used to purchase new attractive equipment for the playground: modern swing ride, small Ferris wheel, carousel with planes and an autodrome. A water zone for children is planned to be added in summer, where it will be possible to cool down in hot days.

Although Biłgoraj is a small town, it is located in a beautiful and picturesque area. When visiting Powerland – whether the park or to stay for a night – tourists can also visit the Roztoczański Park, Zwierzyniec, Guciów, the lake in Biszcza and many other interesting places.

The mission of Bank Gospodarstwa Krajowego is to support Polish small and medium-sized enterprises, as well as the sustainable development of the country. Thanks to its involvement in the “Business in Eastern Poland – Tourism” project, even more companies providing services in the tourism and related industries in this region will be able to benefit from preferential financing of their development. The entire macro-region, its inhabitants, and tourists visiting this part of Poland will benefit from the improved quality of the services offered.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the tourism and related industries have become one of the most badly affected sectors of the economy. Throughout subsequent waves of the epidemic, the industries were almost entirely locked down.

The “Business in Eastern Poland – Tourism” project provided direct support to companies from the tourism and related industries affected by the difficult situation related to the pandemic. Enterprises could benefit from better loan terms for the development of tourism, as part of which facilitations for the repayment of loans included:

  • possibility of allocating the full amount of the loan to finance expenses related to the company’s day-to-day operations;
  • no own contribution required;
  • six-month payment holiday with respect to principal instalments or principal and interest instalments.