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Kongres Magazine talked to Andrzej Hulewicz, Vice President of Mazurkas Travel Poland, who was recently named among the top representatives of the 10 Most Influential Meeting Agencies 2021. Andrzej shared his advice for newcomers in the meetings industry and expressed his opinion on the future of events.

Q1: What does the title of the industry’s most influential individual in the region mean to you?

First of all, I appreciate and feel honoured to be in the Top 10 of the Most Influential Meeting Agency Representatives 2021 of Kongres Magazine. Throughout my life, my company Mazurkas Travel Poland and myself have been awarded many times, which has been extremely motivating for me. It always pushed me further to continue my work in the travel business, which is my great passion. Nevertheless, this 2021 recognition is really special for me as it is a great summary of the last 32 years of Mazurkas Travel Poland activities. The year 2020 was supposed to be the year of my company’s 30th-anniversary celebration. We had huge plans for the whole year. When the pandemic was officially announced, I could not believe what was happening. I felt powerless and was not sure it all made sense. Luckily, together with my team members who had supported me for many, many years, we survived as our common goal had remained the same – keeping Poland a strong MICE destination. That is because we have all been working so hard on building this image of our beloved country. This recognition gives me another reason to keep my company strong, to do my best to survive in these difficult times and develop new MICE concepts in the new reality, so we will have the base to work further on rebuilding the demand for Poland and our services.

Q2: Can we say that you are a newcomer in the meetings industry? What inspires you?

Having dedicated over 40 years to the travel and meeting industry, it is quite difficult to say that I am a newcomer. However, these last two pandemic years made me a newcomer as I needed to rebuild everything from the very beginning. I had to change my mindset and very quickly adjust our services and new technology to the current trends and circumstances. It was not easy as the situation was, and still is very dynamic and unsure, but luckily I have a great team who keep me going and motivate me. Moreover, they present new courses of action, where sometimes I feel lost – as these are completely new things for me. But with them, I feel strong, and I have the motivation to continue the business.

Q3: You have contributed a lot to the development of the meetings industry. What would you say was your greatest achievement so far?

In the last decade or even more, we have focused on promoting Poland as a MICE-destination. It is not an easy task as Europe has so many great destinations with a variety of meeting facilities. Poland was often perceived as a 2nd or even 3rd category destination in terms of organising meetings or congresses. Hard work by the Polish industry’s representatives resulted in Poland being placed into consideration for the most prestigious international events. Travelling abroad for so many years, presenting Poland and Mazurkas Travel on trade shows, roadshows, workshops, sales calls, I feel that all those activities made my beloved country visible, and I find it as my grand achievement. The same is with my company and team members – these are my greatest achievements!

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“I hope that people will not be afraid to come back to live events.”

Q4: What changes would you like to see in the meetings industry in 2022?

It seems that 2022 is going to be another challenging year. Some of the corporate companies still have business travel and events banned, which does not help our industry. However, our main job is to make sure that all the services and products we offer are safe, attendee-friendly and comfortable so that live events may go on. I know that the hybrid events option is a must right now, and we offer such an option, yet I hope that people will not be afraid to come back to live events as only those who give their best benefit from the meeting – the best engagement, the best experience and the best knowledge received. Additionally, I would like to see a plan of getting back to normal in the “new reality” in my country. That way, we could start to work with clients and plan their events. Unclear and unstable guidelines for organising meetings do not help us with proper destination promotion.

Q5: What is your prediction for the future of meetings?

As mentioned above, I am sure that online and hybrid events will remain with us. Therefore, we need to continuously work on those offers and creative options to make them more attractive, giving a chance to all attendees to get the most and the best of these events. I know that there are many companies like Mazurkas Travel Poland, which very quickly started adjusting their services to get ready for work in New Europe. We will do our best to make Poland visible on the map of New Europe.

Q6: What is your advice for young colleagues making their way in the meetings industry?

My advice is not to give up, implement your ideas, even the craziest ones and sooner or later, you will benefit from the way you have made.

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“Unclear and unstable guidelines for organising meetings do not help us with proper destination promotion.”

Q7: Were you more exposed in public after being placed on our list? Do you see this as an opportunity to reinforce the prominence of our industry in general?

It helps and showcases me and Mazurkas Travel Poland as a reliable partner. The most important for us, at the moment, is to confirm that we are all doing well, still working and getting ready to deliver the best services for meetings and events in Poland. Such recognitions are always satisfying. They show how complex our industry is and how many people and different sectors belong to the meeting industry. For example, catering providers are extremely important in all kinds of events! I am even more pleased to hear that my business partner – Andrew Bartkowski & Mazurkas Catering 360°, has been recognised in Kongres Magazine in the Top 10 Most Influential Catering Service Providers 2021. I remember when over 20 years ago, he started to build his vision on catering services, which has always been an art for them. He created something completely new, which is our unique selling point – Gastronomic Ceremony, where the dishes are served in a special artistic way with accompanying music. Catering is not only food & beverage – it should be an amazing experience that the event attendees will never forget.

Q8: What are your thoughts on our selection of the influencers?

It is not an easy task to make the selection, given our industry has so many “wings” and activities. This requires in-depth knowledge of the industry diversity and is quite a hard job, especially having so many great professionals in this business worldwide. I think you are doing a good job searching here in Europe for different industry representatives in each sector as it is very inspirational and motivational. Usually, lists like this present and promote the people in the outbound business, like holiday tour operators or outbound travel agencies. Hence, I am happy that Kongres Magazine’s lists showcase companies and representatives who promote their destinations.

Q9: In your opinion, who deserves the title of the TOP influencer if you had to choose from the finalists yourself?

Too many great personalities to choose only one! Congratulations to all of them!

About Andrzej Hulewicz

Since 1990, Andrzej has been the Co-Founder of Mazurkas Travel Poland, a company specializing in the travel and MICE industry. The company was established soon after the collapse of communism. Andrzej’s whole life has been dedicated to travel with a desire to help others to find their own way to his country, Poland. Today, after over 32 years running Mazurkas Travel Poland, he is proud to have a highly experienced team that shares this passion. Besides the professional aspect of Andrzej’s passion, he loves photography, good literature, exotic travel and learning about new cultures and people.