Interview with Ms Anna Marasek, director of Parkmania.pl the only portal for amusement parks/theme parks in Poland.
Beata Bruggeman-Sekowska: In the interview with Mr Daniel Heinst: Chairman of the Polish Association for Tourism and Family Attractions (STiAR) about Poland as a great (family) holiday destination, on the question: Will you agree with me that Poland is a fantastic family holiday destination offering lots of attractions? Mr Heinst answered: ‘’Yes, I do agree, Poland has a wide range of attractions and activities to offer if you know where to look.’’ I guess this is exactly the target of your company?
Anna Marasek: I agree with Daniel. When we started Parkmania.pl there were only few dino parks in Poland. We had an idea to collect information, pics and videos about these several places on a website to help people deciding how to spend free time with kids. Today, after 6 years there are over 20 dino parks, many miniature parks, there are amusement parks and a brand new theme park – Energylandia. We made an online “theme park guide” exactly for that purpose, to be able to find alternative to usual weekends.
How did your platform evolve and what is your ambition for the future?
Parkmania.pl has grown tremendously over 6 years. At the beginning it was “just” a portal that gathered information about Polish parks, later we have added information about European ones, today it is a platform that offers: 1. detailed information about theme parks, 2. professional and up to date reports about theme parks attendance in Europe and USA, 3. a discount card, called Funpass to over 140 attractions in Poland (it was the first discount card in Poland to Polish theme parks) 4. online shop that has e-tickets to almost 20 parks in Europe and accommodation + e-tickets offers.
Recently we have published an e-book that gives tips and tricks how to save money and time while planing/going to a theme park.
I always wanted to have my own business and since I have noticed there is no such website on a Polish market we decided to give it a go! I hope that we will be able to expand our offer and sell more e-tickets – this is our goal for upcoming years. We also have several projects we are developing now, but so far this is all I can say.
Could you please describe the theme parks market in Poland? Is it a saturated market or still developing? What theme parks are available and what is still missing?
Polish theme park market is specific. For years many investors tried to open a “proper theme park” in Poland (pls check our Aktualnosci for a brief info: http://www.parkmania.pl/aktualnosci/57/Wiele-halasu-o-nic-Jak-budowano-parki-rozrywki-w-Polsce.html ). Nothing worked out and it seems, that what works out is local investments, that is why we have many small parks – which are very different from what you would call a theme park in Western Europe but yet very successful.. You can mention a chain of Jura Parks (Jura Park Bałtów, Krasiejów and Solec Kujawski), Park Miniatur Świat Marzeń in Inwałd or Farma Iluzji in Trojanów, Łeba Park in Łeba. You will not find here Efteling nor Disneyland, but as I mentioned earlier, we have Energylandia. This one is the first that comes closest to an idea of a theme park, it has 60 attractions, including big roller coasters produced by Dutch company – Vekoma. I think there is room for several more parks in Poland, this country is huge country, it has 38 mln people who start to search for domestic offers. It is also visited more by foreigners who also want to be entertained.
You are married to a Dutch man and know the Netherlands very well. How would you compare the theme parks market between these two countries? What can we learn from each other?
Dutch theme park market is mature, Polish market is still a toddler. We are learning how to walk 🙂 I admire Dutch market a lot, I am a big Efteling fan. As a mother of two I have also visited other places in the Netherlands (Toverland, Sprookjeswonderland, Madurodam etc.) and I would recommend it to everybody. The Netherlands is a great place for families when it comes to entertainment. I like the fact everything is organized for families (you will find a microwave in the park, places to change the baby etc), this is still new to Poland but luckily we are learning fast. You have quality attractions in the park, all beautifully themed – that is still missing a little bit here.
How would you compare the expectations of Polish and Dutch clients as far as the theme parks are concerned? Are they looking for the same experience or their taste differs?
Poles are rather discovering what the theme parks are. Dutch clients are more aware what they can get in a theme park. Ask any Grandma in the Netherlands what Efteling or a roller coaster is and she will know for sure. In Poland only younger people would know what the theme parks are. This is also why it is so exciting to run Parkmania.pl as we are helping people discover and learn about theme parks. Our ambition is to be the educator in this field, to explain what is a theme park experience, what is a rollercoaster or an inversion (we have even section “Glossary” on the website that covers that: http://www.parkmania.pl/slowniczek.html).
In my opinion Dutch customer “knows it all” so he wants to be surprised in a theme park (with new attraction, new show etc.), Poles, since they do not know that many theme parks, take it “as whole” – they visit theme parks and appreciate it entirely as often it is the first time they went to a theme park.
How would you recommend Poland as a family destination to foreigners? Why should they come to Poland?
Poland is a fantastic place to combine entertainment with nature it offers. I think it is not so explored as other vacation destinations so it is pleasure to be here. But wouldn’t search for all-inclusive beach and sand offers, it is rather good for active people who like to travel and explore. Over the years, I have invited many Dutch friends who always were surprised with Polish hospitality and country. Many people still think Poland has not changed much but once they come here they see it is a great, modern country.