Everyone will find something for themselves in Katowice. You can spend an attractive city break here, or a much longer stay. Once associated with mining and numerous coal mines, now thanks to great efforts and huge investments, this is a great example of a successful transformation into a fashionable modern city with an inclination to ecology and sustainable development. In the place of the closed pits, there are newly revitalized multi-functional urban spaces, full of excellent architecture and interesting events. The biggest city of 2.2 M people metropolis, Katowice has been undergoing a metamorphosis for years and is becoming a popular tourist and business destination. Adam Białas asked the Mayor of Katowice, Marcin Krupa, about the most important issues regarding the city he runs.
What is currently encouraging investors to develop in Katowice? In which business areas are foreign investors most active?
2020-2021 was marked by the COVID-19 pandemic. It was a difficult time for the global economy which was subjected to a real “crash test.” The last two years clearly confirmed that we live in a dynamically changing environment which forces local and foreign business entities to manage change and predict further development directions. Looking at the Katowice and metropolitan backyard, you can see that one of the industries that did not succumb to the crisis, and even developed, is the modern business services sector. And it is this area where investors have been very active. Currently, we have 120 business service centers in the metropolis, the vast majority of which are in Katowice. Employment in the sector in Q1 2021 was approximately 27,500 people and it is expected that in Q1 2022 the number will be 28,900. From the beginning of 2020, alone, several new investment projects have been created by companies such as: Aebi Schmidt, Ammega, AT&T, Capgemini (Cyber Defense Center), Guess, Hyland, Infobip, LKQ, Prime Engineering, PubNub, SD Worx or TMF Group. The reason behind the sector’s expansion is both increase in the number of centers and the scope of services provided by already existing investors. The new recruitment plans have been implemented by: Capgemini, Diebold Nixdorf, EPAM, Keywords Studios, Sopra Steria and DAZN. We anticipate further growth in this sector.
In case of business decisions the history and identity of a city often also play an important role. How would you describe Katowice’s identity today and what it used to be and how its transformation affects its attractiveness?
Business has its own rules and each business case provides information on the benefits of locating investment in a given place and whether the selected place is the most competitive compared to other locations. Storytelling can certainly be effectively used to tell the “story” of the history of Katowice. After all, the city has experienced enormous changes over the past three decades, all of which have been caused by political and economic transformations, while the additional challenges caused by globalization and new threats are accelerating the pace of these changes. Today Katowice is a dynamical metropolitan center with business services, high-tech industry and a strong academic and cultural hub. It should be emphasized that the key feature related to the current and the desired image is the multidimensional transformation. This is what drives us and allows us to quickly adapt to changing conditions. The post-industrial heritage and its presence in building the image of a modern business metropolis distinguishes us from many other destinations.
What are Katowice development plans for the coming years – strategies, projects?
Like any other city Katowice has a development strategy. From our perspective, the city follows the path set out in the Katowice 2030 City Development Strategy. The basic values shaping the strategic vision of the city’s development are created by the so-called 4i concept – intelligence, innovation, integration and internationalization. The development in these areas is annually supported by the city’s budget, where, for example, this year we will spend PLN 770 million on education and educational care, over PLN 258 million on road investments, including the construction of new infrastructure and renovation of existing infrastructure, and PLN 296 million on culture and sport. Katowice will continue with large investments that contribute to improving the quality of life in the city and creating new jobs. In 2022, the expansion of the national roads 81 and 86 in Giszowiec will be completed and as well as a sports complex at ul. Asnyka and the Zadole swimming pool. The construction of the city stadium and revitalization of parks, the Starganiec pond and the Dolina Pięciu Stawów Valley, will be continued. Works related to the project of the Center of Himalaism will also begin. As you can see, the pace of our investments is still high.
Katowice is not only about business. For years it has become appreciated as a touristic destination. What tourist attractions await guests? Have you experienced increased tourist traffic in the last decade?
Katowice is becoming more attractive to industrial, event/festival and business tourists. Every year, an increasing number of people organize a fashionable city break in Katowice. Why? It is a city of music where you can participate in open-air festivals such as the OFF Festival, Tauron Nowa Muzyka and festivals in local concert halls – incl. Rawa Blues, International Music Competition K. Szymanowski, Silesian Jazz Festival or Katowice JazzArt Festival. It is not surprising then that in 2015 Katowice was honored with the UNESCO City of Music title. We are also famous for our industrial heritage, including the historic mining estates of Nikiszowiec and Giszowiec and the Porcelain Factory. It is also impossible not to mention the Culture Zone with three naturally integrated facilities which provide space for world events such as: the Intel Extreme Masters and championship sports competitions and provide the opportunity to experience excellent acoustics or learn about the rich heritage of Silesia. For those who want to get to know Katowice better, we have also created three thematic paths: Tradition and Modernity, Actively and the City of Music. We cordially invite you to Katowice!
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