On 1 July 2016, Poland began its fifth Presidency of the Visegrad Group (V4). Over the last 25 years, the V4 countries developed a close cooperation based on common values and interests. The V4 has become a well-known brand, a symbol of a successful initiative for pursuing joint interests and a key element of cooperation in Central Europe.
The Visegrad Group countries’ cooperation in the field of tourism was initiated by the Hungarian Party in 2002. It is permanent in nature and is carried out based on annual meetings of tourism ministers and the heads of the national tourism organizations of the Czech Republic, Poland, Slovakia and Hungary.
To date, the cooperation has brought, inter alia, the following results:
- development of the web portal Discover Central Europe: http://www.discover-ce.eu/,
- development of joint tourism products that are promoted in third countries,
- organization of study visits for journalists and tour operators,
- joint participation and presentations in tourism fairs and exhibitions;
- development of promotional materials;
- development of joint market research projects.
During the Polish Presidency, the Tourism Department of the Ministry of Sport and Tourism, in cooperation with the Polish Tourist Organisation, will organize a high-level meeting of Tourism Ministers of the Visegrad Group countries, which will be preceded by a meeting of the heads of their national tourist organizations.
The Visegrad Group countries’ cooperation in the field of sport was initiated in 1994 with an agreement signed in Zakopane, which resulted in the launching of the Olympic Hopes Tournament. The Tournament is a series of sports competitions held for youth age categories in the Visegrad Group countries. Among the competing athletes there are representatives of the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Poland and other countries invited to participate. The competitions are held throughout the calendar year.
During the Polish Presidency, the Ministry of Sports and Tourism (MST) plans to organize a meeting of Sports Ministers of the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary and Poland, on the fringe of the Olympic Hopes Tournament competitions.
Moreover, in December 2016 in Warsaw, the 23rd meeting of the International Olympic Hopes Tournament Steering Committee will be held. Such meetings are held on a regular basis in the country currently holding the presidency of the V4. In the meetings, the coordinators summarize a given year and discuss proposals for sports competitions for the following year.
Please be reminded that the Visegrad Group operates the International Visegrad Fund (IVF) which is recognized as an international organization. It was established in June 2000 by a joint decision of the Prime Ministers of the Czech, Slovak, Hungarian and Polish governments. The Fund has its headquarters in Bratislava. The tasks of the Fund include promoting and encouraging closer cooperation between the Visegrad Group countries through the provision of financial support to joint projects in the fields of culture, science, education, youth exchange, cross-border cooperation and tourism promotion.
Current information on the Polish Presidency of the Visegrad Group is available on the website of the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs.