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Ukraine War Tourism: A WTN Hero Shows a Way Forward

, Ukraine War Tourism: A WTN Hero Shows a Way Forward, eTurboNews | eTN
WTN Members at TIME 2023, the global summit in Bali, Indonesia

World Tourism Network reached out to its members in Ukraine to find out the state of this sector during the ongoing war with Russia.


WTN member Yanina Gavrylova of the Ukrainian Tourist Guides Association responded in detail to how the current war has been changing the tourism landscape in Ukraine. Her optimistic and realistic way forward should serve as an inspiration for the rest of the Ukraine travel and tourism industry which is very much alive, active, and welcoming.

Yanina was awarded Tourism Hero by the World Tourism Network.

Reduced travel demand to Ukraine

The ongoing war in Ukraine has led to a dramatic decrease in travel demand. In 2021, Ukraine received 14.4 million international tourists. However, in 2022, this number dropped to just 1.7 million. This is a decline of over 80%.

Disrupted supply chains:

The war has also disrupted the tourism supply chain in Ukraine. Many hotels, restaurants, and tour operators have been forced to close or operate at a reduced capacity. This has made it difficult for tourists to find accommodation, food, and activities.

Damage to tourism infrastructure:

The war has damaged or destroyed many tourism infrastructure sites in Ukraine. This includes hotels, airports, and historical landmarks.

The rebuilding of this infrastructure will take years and billions of dollars.

Negative impact on the local economy:

The decline in tourism has had a negative impact on the local economy in Ukraine.

Tourism is a major source of jobs and revenue for the country.
In 2021, tourism accounted for 3.4% of Ukraine’s GDP. However, in 2022, this number is expected to drop to just 1.1%.

Long-term impact on Ukraine’s image as a tourist destination:

The war is also likely to have a long-term impact on Ukraine’s image as a tourist destination.

Even after the war ends, it may take years for tourists to feel comfortable traveling to Ukraine again.

The Ukrainian tourism industry is facing significant challenges. However, the government and the private sector are working together to rebuild the industry and promote Ukraine as a tourist destination again.

Here are some specific examples of how the current wars are changing the tourism landscape in Ukraine:

Many hotels have been forced to close:

For example, the InterContinental Kyiv Hotel has closed its doors until further notice. Restaurants are operating at a reduced capacity:

For example, the Kyiv restaurant chain Podil has closed some of its restaurants and is operating at a reduced capacity at others.

Tour operators are canceling tours:

For example, the Ukrainian tour operator Intourist Ukraine has canceled all of its tours until further notice.

Airports have been closed:

For example, the Boryspil International Airport in Kyiv has been closed to civilian flights since the beginning of the war. Visitors need to either take the train from other European countries or drive.

Historical landmarks have been damaged or destroyed:

For example, the St. Michael’s Golden-Domed Cathedral in Kyiv was damaged by shelling in March 2022. The impact of the war on the tourism landscape in Ukraine is severe and long-lasting. However, the Ukrainian tourism industry is resilient and will eventually recover.

What could tourism leaders do to mitigate the situation?

Tourism leaders can do a number of things to mitigate the impact of the war on the tourism landscape in Ukraine:

Support tourism businesses:

Tourism leaders can provide financial and other support to tourism businesses in Ukraine. This could include providing grants, loans, or tax breaks.

Tourism leaders can also help tourism businesses to access new markets and develop new products and services.

Promote sustainable tourism:

Tourism leaders can promote sustainable tourism practices in Ukraine. This will help to make the country a more attractive tourist destination and will also help to protect the environment and local communities.

Invest in tourism infrastructure:

Tourism leaders can invest in rebuilding and improving the tourism infrastructure in Ukraine. This could include hotels, airports, and historical landmarks.
Investing in tourism infrastructure will make the country more attractive to tourists and will also create jobs and boost the local economy.

Market Ukraine as a tourist destination:

Tourism leaders can market Ukraine as a tourist destination to potential visitors. This could involve promoting the country’s rich history, culture, and natural beauty.

Tourism leaders can also focus on promoting specific types of tourism, such as sustainable tourism or cultural tourism.

Work with international partners:

Tourism leaders can work with international partners to promote Ukraine as a tourist destination and to support the country’s tourism industry.

This could involve working with other national tourism organizations, international travel associations, and tour operators.

Here are some specific examples of things that tourism leaders are doing to mitigate the situation in Ukraine:

Specific Examples of International Resources for Ukraine

The European Travel Commission (ETC) has launched a campaign called “Stand with Ukraine” to support the country’s tourism industry. The campaign aims to raise awareness of the impact of the war on the tourism industry and to encourage people to travel to Ukraine in the future.

The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) has launched a fund to support the tourism industry in Ukraine. The fund will be used to provide financial assistance to tourism businesses and to help the country rebuild its tourism infrastructure.

The European Commission has allocated €100 million to support the tourism industry in Ukraine. The funds will be used to provide financial assistance to tourism businesses and to help the country promote itself as a tourist destination.

The World Tourism Network started its Scream for Ukraine campaign at the beginning of the war raising awareness of various issues.

The Ukrainian government has launched a program to support the tourism industry. The program includes measures such as providing tax breaks to tourism businesses and investing in tourism infrastructure.

These are just a few examples of things that tourism leaders are doing to mitigate the impact of the war on the tourism landscape in Ukraine. Tourism leaders are committed to supporting the country’s tourism industry and to helping it to recover from the war.

The Ukrainian Tourist Guide Association is a proud member of the World Tourism Network.

Who is the Ukraine Tourist Guide Association

The UKRAINIAN TOURIST GUIDES ASSOCIATION is an association of professional tourist guides and non-governmental, non-political, and non-profit organizations.

It was created to unite tourist guides, managers, museum guides, and other tourism professionals to improve the quality of their work and increase the role and prestige value of the profession in Ukrainian society.

• The main goal of the organization is to unite the guides on the basis of creating favorable conditions for the progression of the national tourist product by developing and promoting a high-quality excursion product, increasing the level of the guides’ professional skills, specifying their role and place in the educational process, raising the profile of the profession.
• Improving the system of training and guiding professional growth, creating conditions for specialists, professional development, and the mainstreaming of ethical standards of the profession.
• Assistance in the process of forming a professional environment for guides in Ukraine; reforming Ukrainian legislation using the experience of European countries that are leaders of the tourism market, harmonizing Ukrainian standards with European Union legislations; evolving legal forms of self-organization and self-regulation of the tourism community; development of excursion business, in particular, excursion product in Ukraine; the establishment and maintenance of a national register of guides.
The association represents Ukraine in two international professional communities: The Federation of European Guides (FEG) and the World Federation of Travel Guides Associations (WFTGA)
It conducts training courses for beginners and professionals, lectures on history and culture, entrepreneurship, marketing, psychology, and conflict resolution as well as various workshops for the organization’s members.

About the author


Juergen T Steinmetz

Juergen Thomas Steinmetz has continuously worked in the travel and tourism industry since he was a teenager in Germany (1977).
He founded eTurboNews in 1999 as the first online newsletter for the global travel tourism industry.

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