On a global scale, the travel and tourism sector is the part of the economy that has been notably severely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. This article presents the state of the tourism sector in Poland on the eve and in the first year of this pandemic. First, key definitions were briefly discussed as a foundation for tourism policy. The defined terms include the following: tourism, visitor, hiker, tourist, international (incoming) and domestic tourism, tourism sector, invisible export industry, tourist accommodation facility, tourist attraction. Then, data on international and domestic tourism in Poland just before the COVID-19 pandemic was presented, including the number of tourists served by the Polish tourism sector. The tourist attractiveness of Poland, the base of accommodation facilities, the share of tourism in Poland’s GDP and national employment were discussed. Poland’s flagship tourist attractions in 2019 were presented, among which the most important are cultural heritage attractions, sacred places and natural heritage. The issue of the COVID-19 pandemic was presented and on its background scenarios developed by the UNCTAD for the tourism sector related to travel restrictions introduced in response to the pandemic. Declines in tourism indicators between 2019 and 2020 were presented. Next, the strategy of the middle was characterized as a method used in the anti-crisis policy in the tourism sector, and the middle scenario that emerged in the Polish tourism sector in the first pandemic year is indicated.