Business & Economy

Ukraine sees tourism as pillar of post-war recovery

Madrid, Jan 17 (EFE).- Ukraine is already preparing to welcome foreign visitors after the war is over to revive tourism, a sector that will be a pillar of the country’s reconstruction, the president of Ukraine’s Agency for Tourism Development, Mariana Oleskiv, said Tuesday.

Along with the former Ukrainian minister for economic development and trade, Pavlo Kukhta, Oleksiv outlined her country’s objectives at the Fitur international tourism fair being held this week in Madrid.

Tourism is “one of the industries that will have to recover as soon as possible” after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Oleskiv said, explaining her country delegation’s mission at the fair that starts on Thursday as an initiative to drum up support and increase Ukraine’s visibility.

“We need to be prepared, because when the time comes, we have to act very quickly,” she said.

While the situation is difficult at the frontline in the east and south of the country, where most of the fighting is contained, she insisted that tourist infrastructure in the rest of Ukraine was still functioning.

“It’s very hard to imagine if you don’t live in the country, that they are working,” she continued, because from the outside “you may see that the battle is anywhere, people in shelters, without food or anything, but the reality is different – people go on with their lives, go to work, to restaurants, to theaters.”

Tourism professionals who are deployed on the front line are already wondering what they will be able to do when they return, she added. That is why Ukraine is seeking international support so that when foreign tourists return they can go not only to destinations where they went before the war, such as Lviv or Kyiv, but also to areas that were occupied by the Russians and see “the consequences of the war”.

Foreign support will help speed up the recovery of tourism and “people need to have hope to return, we need a plan” to accelerate reconstruction, she said.

The country will present the Meet Ukraine program at the fair in a space provided free of charge by the organizers, the IFEMA consortium, an exceptional gesture due to the critical situation Ukraine finds itself in.

The 43rd edition of the International Tourism Fair (Fitur) hopes to once again showcase the sector’s strength, with a forecast of participants close to the record of more than the 253,000 who visited in 2019, the last edition before the pandemic. EFE


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