A pretty Polish model dressed as a nurse beckons tourists from around the world, saying, “Poland: I’m Awaiting You,” in a new poster with a Polish spa retreat in the background.
The Polish Tourist Organization is using the poster to lure more Japanese and other Asian visitors to Poland, especially with the International Frederick Chopin Piano Competition scheduled to be held in October in Warsaw.
The event is held every five years and expected to draw pianists from Japan, China, Taiwan and South Korea.
Jaroslaw Waczynski, the organization’s representative in Tokyo, said Poland wants to increase the number of Japanese tourists who visit the country to 50,000 this year from 32,500 last year.
The 2004 tally was up 17 percent from 2003, partly bolstered by 12 World Heritage sites in the country, including the Wieliczka Salt Mine and Auschwitz, a former Nazi concentration camp, both in southern Poland, he said.
As part of its efforts to draw more visitors, the tourist body asked the model, Bozena Szwarc, 22, a student at Warsaw University, to don a nurse’s uniform in light of the “good, trustworthy image” of the profession, he said, noting this is aimed at making Poland’s image “brighter and more dynamic.”
The nurse poster is the sequel to another famous one in which an alluring “Polish plumber” woos travelers to his country, saying, “I’m staying in Poland — come on over.”
The plumber poster was a humorous response to French fears of an influx of low-wage workers from Central and Eastern Europe, which prompted the French to vote “no” in the May 29 referendum on the European Union’s Constitution. The poster drew extensive media coverage in Europe because plumbers have become a symbol of cheap labor from 10 new EU member states, including Poland.
The muscular plumber, 21-year-old model Piotr Adamski, wears a T-shirt and overalls and is carrying pipes and a wrench in his hands. Behind him is an image of the Cloth Hall in Krakow, the world’s oldest shopping mall, and Warsaw’s Old Town.
Waczynski is teaming up with travel agencies, tour guides and airlines to enhance Poland’s image in Japan and significantly boost the number of Japanese visitors.
“Part of Japanese society still has an old image of Poland, citing bitter memories of World War II, Auschwitz and socialism under Soviet domination,” he said.
“But I’m confident they will alter such a stereotyped view once they visit Poland,” said Waczynski, a Polish diplomat who came to Tokyo in 1999 with his Japanese wife, Masako Ezaki, a pianist who trained at the Fryderyk Chopin Academy of Music in Warsaw.
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