Besides being famous for its unique nature, the Warmia and Masuria region is also a combination of the potential of the place and of the people, creating ideal conditions for dynamic economic development and opening wide perspectives for investment in the region.

The voivodship’s assets are put to use in its growth, particularly in the functional areas of three smart specializations underpinning the brand of the region, identified and indicated in the Strategy of Socio-Economic Development of the Warmian-Masurian Voivodeship Until 2030.

The following functional areas in the so-called smart specializations have been specified in it: water economy, quality foods, wood and furniture, while also leaving an open door to other areas of the region’s economy that may become smart specializations. IT is also a strategic specialization of the region. Currently, work is underway to implement another specialization – medical tourism

WATER ECONOMY

The tourism industry as well as a number of activities that have great potential for innovation while meeting environmental needs have developed around the water.

Examples of specialization elements:

  1. Production of machinery (production of waterjet cutting machines, production of turbines and components for the shipbuilding and naval industries);
  2. Yacht and boat manufacturing (yacht and power boat manufacturers, boat building services, sailing studios (sail making));
  3. Water transport (passenger cruises, cargo water transport, boat and yacht transport);
  4. Water sports (organization of sporting events (regatta, sailing camps), swimming schools, sailing training, windsurfing, kitesurfing, diving, iceboating, water equipment sales, fishing, steering services, yacht and boat charters);
  5. Natural environment and its protection, including construction of environmental protection facilities (hydroelectric power plants: generation, transmission, distribution and trade, sewage collection and treatment, lake reclamation, water and sewage infrastructure, water collection, treatment and supply, recycling, waste disposal);
  6. Accommodation and wellness (hotels, SPA and wellness facilities, water parks and aquaspheres, health resorts, graduation towers);
  7. Agri-food industry (farming of fish and other aquatic organisms, fish processing and preservation, production of juices, beer and other beverages, fishing);
  8. Science and IOB (universities (education and research), thematic schools, institutes and laboratories, agencies, organizations, associations, clusters).

In recent years, there has been an extremely dynamic development of infrastructure for tourists – new luxurious (four and five-star) hotels with SPA and wellness facilities are being built throughout the region, including Gołębiewski Hotel  in Mikolajki, Krasicki Hotel  in Lidzbark Warmiński, Grand Hotel TIFFI in Iława, Natura Mazur – Resort & Conference Warchały, Galery 69 Hotel in Dorotowo near Olsztyn, Masuria Hotel in Worliny, Marina Golf Club Hotel in Sila near Tomaszkowo, St. Bruno Hotel or Mikołajki Mazury Hotel. There are 77 excellent hotels in the region, of which 52 are three-star hotels, 21 are four-star hotels, and 4 are five-star hotels. In the Land of a Thousand Lakes, the offer of hoteliers is already more tailored to the needs of foreign tourists. Moreover, ecological marinas are being built, ready to receive thousands of sailors.

The Warmia and Masuria region is known for manufacture of yachts (with an excellent reputation abroad), boats and related services. The Masuria region is home to such companies as Delphia Yachts of Olecko, which belongs to the top Polish manufacturers of sailing yachts (they manufacture more than 150 sailing yachts and 1,000 motor yachts annually, and these are mainly sold to Western Europe markets). Other yacht shipyards operating in the region include Northman of Węgorzewo or Ostróda Yacht of Ostróda.

WOOD & FURNITURE

As they take more than 30% of the voivodeship area, forests have long been the great wealth of Warmia and Masuria. Favorable climatic conditions of the region, a base of own raw materials, and the vicinity of voivodeships with large forest complexes offering the possibility of cooperation of producers and cooperators, well-developed technical wood industry infrastructure (numerous sawmills, furniture plants) as well as a few dozen years of tradition make this branch of industry a showpiece of the region.

Examples of elements of the Wood and Furniture specialization include:

  1. Manufacture of furniture (manufacture of office, store and kitchen furniture, manufacture of furniture accessories, furniture upholstery, manufacture of adhesives, manufacture of materials, manufacture of products and plastics, manufacture of machinery, manufacture of glass);
  2. Furniture processing and sales (manufacture of lumber products, building boards, flooring, roofing structures, etc.; manufacture of veneer sheets; forestry and logging; timber sales);
  3. Sale of wood and furniture products (sale of furniture, sale of wooden windows and doors, sale of roller shutters and door locks, installation of anti-burglary systems);
  4. Manufacture of other carpentry products (manufacture of wooden elements for gardens, carpentry services, joinery and manufacture of metal joinery elements);
  5. Design services (furniture design, interior design);
  6. Repair and maintenance (wood preservation, furniture refinishing, lock repair);
  7. Science and IOB (faculties, institutes and laboratories at universities and JBRs, furniture clusters, vocational education).

Companies from Warmia and Masuria furnish the world – as export is the strength of the industry. Over ninety percent of furniture manufactured in the land is exported to all continents.

Numbers reflect the strength of the furniture and timber industry: over 1.1 thousand companies produce furniture and employ over 12.6 thousand people; the highest concentration ratio in Europe. Their annual production value is about PLN 4 billion. On the other hand, in terms of manufacture of veneered sheets, plywood, laminated boards, particle boards and planks, we rank 3rd in the European Union. There are 1,450 entities that produce other wood products as well as cork, straw and wicker products, which gives us 4th place among the EU regions; additionally, there is a very high share in the sold production of the regional industry. Over 1,100 companies are engaged in forestry and wood harvesting (7th place in the EU), while the production of wooden packaging gives us 8th place among the EU countries.

In the first quarter of 2018, exports of furniture produced by companies from Warmia and Masuria accounted for about 15% of the total foreign turnover of our voivodeship.

The region not only provides raw materials and semi-finished products, there are also factories providing final products – Ikea Group in Wielbark and Lubawa, Mazurskie Meble Trade in Olsztyn, DFM – Dobromiejska Fabryka Mebli in Dobre Miasto or Szynaka Meble in Lubawa.

Staff resources – woodworking and upholstery specialists, as well as a large group of sub-suppliers for the furniture and wood processing industry, are conducive to the constant growth of the sector translated into an increasing number of new investors.

QUALITY FOODS

The Quality Foods specialization implies a specialization built on the traditional strong regional position of agriculture (with one of the highest productivity rates in Poland). The region has built a very strong scientific specialization on food production, with a strong scientific and research base. The specialization relies on the agri-food industry and dynamic development of local agriculture and traditional food processing based on regional raw materials and short sales chains, as well as production of food with designed functions. It converges with the pro-health needs of consumers.

Examples of elements of the Quality Foods specialization are:
  1. Unprocessed food production (vegetable and fruit growing, animal products (milk, eggs, etc.), cereal growing, seed and grass production);
  2. Farming of fish and animals (breeding of fish and other aquatic organisms, breeding of cattle, poultry, beekeeping);
  3. Agricultural waste treatment and disposal (animal waste utilization, heat energy recovery from agricultural waste (bio-gas plants));
  4. Production and services for animal husbandry (production of animal feed and food);
  5. Food processing (processing and preserving of fish, meat; production of meat products, production of dairy products, processing of fruits and vegetables, production of juices, mineral waters and other beverages, production of bakery products, production of confectionery products, production of alcoholic beverages and beer);
  6. Production of agricultural machinery (production of assortment for fish farming (e.g. for oxygenation of fish ponds), production of agricultural machinery, production and sale of machinery and production lines for agri-food processing);
  7. Science and IOB (institutes, departments, laboratories at universities and JBRs, agencies of organizations, associations, clusters, groups of agricultural producers, vocational education).

Warmia and Masuria have the ideal conditions to benefit from the trend in demand for quality foods (including food produced from organic ingredients). More than half of the voivodeship area is farmland (54.71%). In the Warmia and Masuria Voivodeship, there are about 26 thousand small and medium-sized farms providing natural, traditional and organic food based on their own raw materials. The network is expanding dynamically – currently, every 11th organic farm in Poland is located in the Warmian-Masurian Voivodeship (2nd place in the country), and almost 15 percent of agricultural crops, covered by the control system in organic farming, are located in our region. Companies producing foodstuffs and beverages enjoy the ecological wealth of Warmia and Masuria – there are as many as 900 such companies in the region. It is the foodstuffs that dominate amongst the goods exported from Warmia and Masuria.

Constant sector growth – through an increase in innovation and the introduction of new technologies – is stimulated by cluster structures operating in the voivodeship, which include dairy and beef producers.

The Warmian-Masurian Voivodeship is one of the biggest poultry meat producers, with turkey meat being the leading export product. Last year the turkey stock equaled almost four million. Dairy products and fruit and vegetable preserves, not only bought in Europe, are also a recognizable brand abroad.

At present, regional agricultural traditions and favorable natural conditions for the development of agriculture and fishery, with adequate scientific and research facilities, allow for building a network of large food production cooperators. The existing food producers guarantee agricultural producers and breeders a stable market for their supplies.

In addition, the growth of the specialization is influenced by a very strong food production scientific base developed by the region, that now attains considerable international results and is also the scientific and research backup for many entrepreneurs. Presence of expert scientific institutions and test and research institutes and their research results used by businesses throughout Poland. These include the Institute of Animal Reproduction and Food Research of the Polish Academy of Sciences – one of the leading scientific institutions of the region, the Inland Fisheries Institute, as well as the Dairy Research and Development Center, the Nutri-Bio-Chemical Center, and the Center for Research of Natural and Traditional Food at the University of Warmia and Mazury. The University of Warmia and Mazury educates future food technologists.

The largest investors in the food industry that have made investments in Warmia and Masuria are the American meat producer Smithfield Food (Morliny-Ełk, Ekodrob Iława), and Heineken (a Dutch brewery). Indykpol (Olsztyn, producer of turkey meat and processed goods), Mazurskie Miody (Tomaszkowo, bee products), Polmlek Group (Lidzbark Warmiński, producer of milk and dairy products), and Tymbark (Olsztynek, producer of juices and still drinks) are also active in the region.

MEDICAL TOURISM

Not only Polish goods, but also services are recognizable abroad. In the Land of a Thousand Lakes, the offer of hoteliers is always becoming more tailored to the needs of foreign tourists, particularly regarding medical tourism that, as of recent, has been gaining popularity; this type of tourism covers SPA & Wellness, biological regeneration, medical services, improvement of health and body aesthetics, and regeneration of vitality.

Currently, work is in progress to introduce medical tourism (services from the medical, rehabilitation and sports tourism sector) as another smart specialization of the Warmia and Masuria region.

Health-resort-like facilities, such as the graduation towers in Gołdap (Gołdap Mazurski Zdrój), are being built throughout the region.