Photos of a Polish LOT passenger plane arriving at Croatia’s Zadar Airport are making the rounds. Interestingly, these are not archival photos but signs that we are slowly but surely returning to the pre-pandemic world in which air travel was something normal.
Croatia needs Poles and Poles need Croatia. This is clearly shown by statistics. In the record 2019, close to a million Poles chose Croatia as their holiday destination. Then came the virus and these numbers were indefensible, but their drop was comparatively small (more than 600,000 people in 2020). This means that Poles feel good in Croatia, and the locals are able to ensure our security in such difficult times.
The inauguration flight to Zadar was meant to be a symbol that what was bad is now behind us, and that there is a chance for the tourist industry to slowly begin rebounding after being destroyed by the coronavirus. This is why the largest group of people onboard the plane were representatives of tourist companies. Everyone was affected by the easily understandable euphoria when we finally broke through the clouds after a year of isolation.
Of course, numbers do not tell us everything and the virus has not yet been completely defeated. This is why we speak of cautious optimism. The progressing vaccination programs, not only in Poland, allow us to bravely look forward, but the expected fourth wave does not give us a right to create decisive plans. In such a situation we must move step by step. For the Polish national carrier and Polish companies, the flight to Zadar is the beginning of an entirely new journey.
LOT CEO Rafał Milczarski had often been asked by journalists to promise something concrete; to give specific numbers or plans. He had not done so and given the current uncertain situation, I am able to understand his decision.
Before the aviation industry begins to gather proper income once again, and I am certain that it will do so eventually, a change must take place in the minds of passengers. It is us, tourists, who must be certain that we are not putting ourselves in harm’s way.
Milczarski had not revealed any detailed financial perspectives, but he did reveal that along with his large family and keeping their safety in mind, he is going to spend his summer holidays in Croatia. For me, there could be no better recommendation.
I’ll repeat: Croatia needs Poles and Poles need Croatia. This is what we call a win-win in business.