WTTC CEO Julia Simpson in Ukraine: A Photo Opportunity or more?

Julia Simpson

While the CEO of WTTC Julia Simpson was brave enough to show solidarity with Ukraine, traveling to this country under attack, Ivan Liptuka, head of the National Tourism Organization of Ukraine applauded her trip recognizing the importance for world tourism leaders to demonstrate solidarity with Ukraine. When asked why he wasn’t in Lviv, he said he prefers to work on urgently needed complicated issues to keep tourism relevant – and photo opportunities are not one of these issues.

Julia Simpson, the CEO of World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) attended the second Ukraine National Tourism Forum in Lviv, Ukraine last week organized against all odds in times of a raging war with Russia.

According to Simpson, Lviv, located in Western Ukraine, has had missile attacks but is far from the Eastern front”, thinking tourism may be working in Lviv, when she met Ulyana Melnyk, and Rostyslav Danyleiko running the Accor Ibiz Hotel in Lviv. Simpson explained: “They’re doing sterling work providing hospitality to Ukrainians and a few international visitors.”

Welcome to Lviv! City of magnificent monuments, ancient temples, cozy streets, museums and galleries. In our wonderful and romantic city, you will never leave the feeling of a holiday at any time of the year.

Mykola TUMANOVSKYI, Ibiz Hotel Manager

“It may seem strange for a country at war to be discussing tourism but many WTTC members are still running businesses”, according to Simpson.

JuliaSimpson | eTurboNews | eTN
WTTC CEO Julia Simpson in Ukraine: A Photo Opportunity or more?

Ukraine’s Tourism Minister Mariana Oleskiv, who is also a member of the World Tourism Network (WTN) invited Julia including Istvan Ujhelyi from the European Parliament to talk about post-war investment and recovery.

Amid the trauma of war, life goes on with great pride in Ukrainian culture and gastronomy. World-renowned chef Ievgen Klopotenko has restaurants across Ukraine, publishing a world-acclaimed book while providing food for soldiers.

Tourism work is very much alife and creative. World Tourism Network Hero Ivan Liptuga, head of National Tourism Organization of Ukraine, and in charge for cultural tourism and the UNESCO Heritage sites told eTurboNews in response to the WTTC CEOs visit in his country.

We have very complex processes to keep tourism relevant in Ukraine; they require knowledge and persistent systematic work of a team of competent specialists.

NTOU, with the help of the USAID Competitive Economy program, does some of this work, but at the state level, no one is interested in this.

Populism, such as photo opportunities are of course always simpler.

Ivan Liptuga, Head of the National Tourism Organization Ukraine, a private NGO

“As you know, I personally and our organization NTOU have always paid more attention to fundamental and systemic processes in tourism than to PR, although it is also certainly needed so that people know what is happening. The main thing is that behind the PR should be actually things that are important and useful for society and the economy, and not just slogans and promises.

“Tourism in Ukraine as a sector has long needed regulatory reforms and investment in infrastructure. Personnel are needed, which are now in severe shortage, since many (especially male professionals) have left the country or gone to the front.

To ensure that travel companies and the hospitality industry do not become extinct as a species, it is necessary to support the sector, create vocational training programs and stimulate at least domestic tourism.

The period of crisis can be used to change legislation and business rules so that after the war, when Ukraine becomes safe, it can be ready for a new flow of international tourists. There must be programs for the implementation of international standards, we need modern statistics and analytics of the sector, we need a database of investment opportunities for restoring tourism infrastructure and creating a new one.

NTOU, with the help of the USAID Competitive Economy program, does some of this work, but at the state level, no one is interested in this. Populism is of course always simpler.

The USAID Competitive Economy Program (CEP) promotes a strong, diverse, and open economy by enhancing the business environment for small and medium enterprises (SMEs), improving competitiveness in key industries, and enabling Ukraine to benefit from free trade agreements.

WTNJOIN | eTurboNews | eTN

(eTN): WTTC CEO Julia Simpson in Ukraine: A Photo Opportunity or more? | re-post license post content


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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