As the crisis result through the coronavirus pandemic, the world’s tourism and hospitality industry expect more than a billion tourists to cancel their planned trips this year. This will cause an 80% decline in industry performance compared to 2019. What will happen in Ukraine? Promote Ukraine asked the experts whether domestic tourism will develop here and if Ukrainian cities and hotels are ready for tourists.

Artur Lukashko

Artur Lukashko, CEO of Ribas Hotels Group

I am pretty sure that 2020 will be the year of domestic tourism. I believe it to suffer significantly only in those regions where the owners or authorities cannot adapt to rapid changes. For example, in Odessa, many restaurants and hotels reorganize their operating and other processes for quite a long, as well as make fundamentally new steps regarding their location. Restaurants expand their summer terraces proactively; hotels use their roofs as additional open spaces. Business looks for recreation and entertainment new formats. And this is great for our region and the country’s tourism in general.

Compared to the previous year, we will see a deterioration. First of all, it concerns gross income. We believe it to decrease by 20-25%. The foreign guests flow will get much smaller. They will be guests from the neighbouring countries – Poland, Moldova, Belarus.

The following trends will be observed in Ukrainian destinations:

  • all-inclusive food refusal;
  • revision of the hotel rooms prices, as the average Ukrainians look for housing through price filters – they do not care whether breakfast is included in the room rate;
  • control increase over the safety of guests: processing of rooms, transit areas, outdoor areas;
  • door-to-door delivery of almost everything (food, goods);
  • contactless service.

According to our data, Ukrainians who previously flew to Egypt, Turkey and Greece remain in Ukraine this year anyways. But they choose a high-quality Ukrainian vacation. These are 4 * and 5 * hotels, yacht service, bungalows in the mountains or by the sea with own beach, etc. For Ukrainians who plan a budget vacation, daily buses are planned, which will run twice a day from key cities – the capital, Kharkiv, Dnipropetrovsk to Odesa, Koblevo, Zatoka, Zalizny Port, Skadovsk. And of course to the Carpathians.

By the way, there are undisputed leaders on the map of domestic tourism: Kyiv, Lviv, Odesa and the regions in which they are located. Every year they set tourist records. For example, more than 5 and a half million tourists came to the capital and the region last year, to Lviv and the region – more than 2 and a half million. Odessa region welcomed 2 million 335 thousand tourists.

These numbers grow year by year. This means that the majority of guests like the resorts. In recent years, marketing activities have been intensified: press tours to different destinations, eco- and gastro-festivals organization, development of popular routes maps and authentic concepts of most tourist-attractive regions of the country.

Anton Kovalishyn

Anton Kovalishyn, local historian

The long-growing trend of eco-tourism gains popularity this year. And it’s not only about looking for an ecological place to rent a house for the summer, but also how to travel environmentally. For example, in the past, electric car owners couldn’t travel over long distances between cities fast as there was a need to charge the battery for several hours on the way.

Now Ukraine has a network of fast-charging stations. But those who lease out a house, develop a restaurant or hotel in a tourist place also need to take into account this trend and get own chargers to meet innovative trends. After all, having an electric car, you can much cheaper to visit the places where the Sorochyn Fair is held, go to the sea, walk the ancient streets of Lviv, get to Europe and visit Poland.

As another tourist interest option visits to historical sites associated with celebrities, cultural figures for Ukrainians can become popular for Ukrainians. This is a chance for small towns without a well-developed infrastructure, but with beautiful nature, to create their tourist brands.

For example, tourists can be interested in the figure of Kazimir Malevich. In particular, he began his career in Konotop, Sumy region. There is the exactly known place in the city where his first painting was sold, though the unambiguous location of his house, where the Malevich family had been living was not revealed.

Guests can also get acquainted with the famous Konotop Battle venue. Near the village Pidlipne, a part of the fortifications in the star fortress form has preserved – one can even see it from space on Google maps, as well as survey the coastal shafts.

Another bonus of these places is the beautiful protected areas that one can visit with camping. On the way to Konotop you can go to Baturyn, and after driving a little further, visit one of the largest but destroyed temple complexes – Pustynno-Rykhlivsky Monastery. It was located on 37 hectares which can be compared with the Kyiv-Pecherska Lavra and had own caves.

The conclusions of the project “The Roadmap for the competitive development of travel and tourism in Ukraine”, prepared by the EBRD in cooperation with the analytical research organization HDC within the EU initiative EU4Business:

  1. Due to political processes, as well as significant shortcomings in the understanding of the situation and management, tourism in Ukraine has been ignored as an important sector of the economy for the last 15 years. Destination management is carried out only in large areas, namely in big cities, with some financial and human resources, while other destinations do not have any management.
  2. Although tourism is not considered to be an important sector, the economic estimates obtained in several studies indicate that its economic potential is much higher than had been assessed earlier.
  3. The general awareness of Ukraine’s natural and cultural heritage is not adequately managed by the competent authorities and requires urgent development (regulation, enforcement and marketing in the domestic market) to emphasize the importance of heritage and demonstrate the best international practices.
  4. The level of tourism competitiveness as industry increases, but the country still lags behind competing countries. The government’s approach to tourism, natural resources, and environmental protection are the key areas where rapid results can be achieved.
  5. The transport network and absent marketing system of national tourism are the biggest obstacles on the way to the tourist system growth. Air traffic and the state of the aviation industry, together with local carriers, demonstrate strategic potential in tourism development.
  6. The private sector involvement in the management and international marketing should be implemented through the National Tourism Organization (NTO) establishment, which will be responsible for the national tourism branding, PR and promotion. The obligatory initial task of this organization should be to raise awareness of Ukraine’s tourism products and convince the international market of the country’s safety and reliability.

Natalia Tolub

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