Updated March 4th, 2024 at 19:26 IST

Ukraine Starts Planning for Post-War Tourism: ‘We Welcome Our Guests if They Don’t Come With Guns’

"We need to create interest in Ukraine not just as people that you support, but also the country you want to support by visiting," Ukrainian minister said.

Reported by: Digital Desk
War torn Ukraine. | Image:AP
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Ukraine this week has launched a campaign for the post-war tourism inviting the International travellers “without guns” to explore the culture of the country. Kyiv said that it has the infrastructure, hotels and services to support visitors, adding that tourism is the main agenda and focus of the post-war recovery efforts. Speaking at a travel event, ITB in Berlin, the chair of Ukraine’s State Agency for Tourism Development said that tourism will be essential for the post-war recovery, according to The Independent newspaper

“We welcome our guests if they don’t come with guns,” Ukraine’s Mariana Oleskiv said, according to the paper. “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,” she added.

Despite war, Ukraine has ‘good hotels, good service, internet coverage’: Minister

The Ukrainian minister said, that “people think about Ukraine – maybe about bravery, about war, about destruction. So they see the picture that Ukraine looks like Mariupol, for example.” She continued to add, “We have many cities that 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.”

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She furthermore added, “We need to create interest in Ukraine not just as people that you support and you feel sorry for – but also the country you want to support by visiting.” The Ukrainian minister noted, “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.”

As Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022, all tourism from abroad was halted for Ukraine. Ukrainians however have been taking holidays, 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 a blackout, very often the hotels were that place where people could have food, charge their phones because they all had generators,” she said. 

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The chair of the Ukrainian tourism body discouraged people from travelling to the country till the war is ongoing. “Not now. We are not inviting anybody now because of many reasons. First of all, logistics are very complicated. And insurance companies do not cover risks in Ukraine. So even if you get flu somewhere in Ukraine that is not related to war, it would not be covered by most of insurance companies. So we're not inviting anyone here,” she explained.

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Published March 4th, 2024 at 19:26 IST