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Ukraine starts planning for post-war tourism

Simon Calder’s Travel

Ukraine will this week launch a campaign for international tourists – telling the world that it has the infrastructure, hotels and service to support visitors.

On the eve of the world’s biggest travel event, ITB in Berlin, the chair of Ukraine’s State Agency for Tourism Development has told The Independent that tourism will be an essential part of post-war recovery.

Mariana Oleskiv said: “We welcome our guests if they don’t come with guns.

“Any money that people will spend in Ukraine will help the economy to recover.

“We have now the brand of Ukraine developed and well known around the world. But it’s not associated with tourism.”

“People think about Ukraine – maybe about bravery, about war, about destruction.

“So they see the picture that Ukraine looks like Mariupol, for example.

“We have many cities look like this, but it’s around 20 per cent or 30 per cent of territory that is occupied.

“The rest is alright. It’s very beautiful. We have good infrastructure and we have very good hotels, good service, internet coverage.

“We need to create interest to Ukraine not just as people that you support and you feel sorry for – but also the country you want to support by visiting.

“We don’t know when. We don’t know if it’s going to be in this year, or next year or in two years.

“We have this time to prepare, to have plans – even though they are on hold for this moment. But we know how to act from the moment when Ukrainian borders and Ukrainian skies open again.”

Ms Oleskiv took up her role in March 2020 – on the eve of an expected rapid expansion of flights from the UK and elsewhere.

But new links to Odessa that both Ryanair and Wizz Air were selling from London were scuppered by the Covid pandemic.

Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022, halting all tourism from abroad.

Remarkably, Ukrainians are still taking holidays, Ms Oleskiv said.

“We still have tourism – domestic tourism – in Ukraine. And this is something that helps us also to cope with everything that that is going on in our country.

“We have cafes, bars, restaurants, working. We have hotels open and actually during last winter, when we had blackout, very often the hotels were that place where people could have food, charge their phones because they all had generators.”

“People do travel, they travel with families with kids from the…

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