Monday, December 25, 2006

More Foreigners Touring Ukraine

KIEV, Ukraine -- Since the beginning of this year, nearly 15 million foreigners have visited Ukraine, an 8 percent increase over 2006, the government has announced.


St. Michael's a favourite tourist attraction

For the second year in a row, the country has seen a rise in travelers from Europe, many now coming for pleasure.

Compared to 2005, Ukraine has witnessed a 50 percent hike in the number of tourists coming from Austria, while the flow of visitors from Latvia and the Czech Republic went up by 43 percent and from Lithuania by 24 percent.

There has also been a rise in the number of Western Europeans visiting Ukraine since 2005, including travelers from Great Britain (41 percent), Italy (30 percent) and France (24 percent).

The growth in the number of visitors coincides with Ukraine’s easing of visa restrictions, allowing many citizens of Europe to enter the country with just their passports for a limited period of time.

Ukraine has traditionally seen most of its tourism coming from its immediate neighbors: Russia (30 percent), Poland (28 percent) and Moldova (18 percent), according to the government’s website portal.

Countries like Germany (1 percent), the United States (0.5 percent) and Turkey (0.4 percent) have accounted for much smaller tourist inflows.

Ukrainian travel agencies have also noticed a rise in the number of foreign visitors.

“Over the past year, our department has seen an increase in business activity from abroad by about 20-25 percent,” estimates Dmytro Tantsyura, a senior manager in the incoming department of New Logic travel agency. Kyiv-based New Logic specializes in arranging travel, tours and accommodations for foreign visitors to Ukraine.

Tantsyura said that the majority of his clients come from Russia, Germany, France, Israel and Poland. The main change of late is the reason for their visits.

“I think that even one or two years ago … business was the main reason for clients to be here, but month by month I now see that the situation has changed, and now we have clients here for business and leisure in almost equal parts,” he said.

Tantsyura thinks the trend will continue in the near future, and the government appears to be helping things along.

Ukrainian Minister for Culture and Tourism Yuriy Bohutsky recently met with the President of the European Travel Commission to discuss the possibility of bringing Ukraine closer to the European tourism community.

Ukraine’s Cabinet of Ministers has been working on drafting agreements on cooperation in tourism with over 20 countries this year.

Source: Kyiv Post

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