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03 Apr. 2024

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Reviving tourism after the war: what does international experience tell us and what opportunities are there for Ukraine?

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Reviving tourism after the war: what does international experience tell us and what opportunities are there for Ukraine?

A tourism crisis is an inevitable process during a country's military operations. However, the war not only causes stagnation in the tourism sector, but also opens up a number of opportunities that can radically change the service market. Find out more about how other countries have restored tourism after the war and what it means for Ukraine

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Tourism in Ukraine is currently going through very difficult times. First of all, Ukrainian infrastructure and nature are constantly suffering from russian attacks. Moreover, many unique natural and recreational sites, such as Askania Nova or the Kinburn Spit, were completely destroyed during the fighting or are currently under occupation. In addition to the actual destruction and terror on the part of russia, the problem lies with the tourists themselves, as the flow of foreign citizens has significantly decreased, while Ukrainians often lack the financial and psycho-emotional capacity to travel regularly around the country.


At the same time, war is not only a stagnating factor, but also a specific tool that opens up many opportunities. And today we can already observe some changes, as the number of tourists who came to Ukraine even during the war to see the uniqueness of Ukrainian culture and land with their own eyes has increased significantly. 


In addition, while previously foreigners traveled mainly to Kyiv, today a significant number of them travel to other regions of Ukraine. Moreover, the war is not the only reason for changes in the present. According to the experience of other countries, tourism can become a real pillar of Ukraine's post-war revival. And according to a report by the State Agency for Tourism Development, the tourism industry has already begun to recover since the start of the full-scale invasion and brought almost UAH 2 billion to the state budget in the first 9 months of 2023 alone.


So, how did other countries revive tourism after the war and what opportunities are there for Ukraine - let's find out in the article.


International experience in restoring tourism after the war


International experience proves that during a war, tourism can not only "survive" but also "develop". To prove this, let's look at the stories of several countries.


Israel


The armed conflict in Israel has been going on for more than 70 years, but this has not stopped international tourism. And the country's experience in this regard is unique, as the authorities have managed to adapt the realities to the needs of society, and cities such as Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Nazareth, Bethlehem, and Haifa, as well as some Dead Sea resorts, are regularly visited by a large number of people. And before the COVID-19 pandemic, the tourism sector in Israel accounted for 6.2% of state budget revenues, in particular due to pilgrimage, medical and cultural tourism. In addition, the country's tourism industry provides about 6% of jobs.


Germany


Today, Germany is one of the most famous countries in the global tourism market. However, a large number of tourists are interested not only in the beauty and cultural heritage of the country, but also in the history of the war. Thus, Germany is one of the main centers of war tourism in Europe, as the Second World War was one of the biggest shocks to society in recent centuries.


Croatia, Turkey and Cyprus


Croatia, Turkey, and Cyprus have similar experiences in this regard, as after the end of hostilities, they all launched powerful PR campaigns designed to raise the country's image and awareness, as well as to talk about the uniqueness and advantages of the countries' tourism sector.  Today, in each country, tourism accounts for a significant share of the economy: in Cyprus - about 18%, in Croatia - about 15%, in Turkey - about 13%.




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Egypt


This is one of the most popular resort countries in the world, with an annual tourist flow of more than 10 million people, although less than 50 years ago, namely in 1960-1980, there were also active hostilities. In addition, in the mid-1990s, Egypt's tourism sector became an arena for political power struggles, which eventually led to a number of tragic events due to terrorist attacks. Nevertheless, the country retained the attention of tourists and was able to provide them with a "safe place in the midst of danger."


Today, the contribution of the tourism sector to the national economy of Egypt is about 12%. And the uniqueness of this experience is that tourists come to the country not to see the so-called military heritage and the consequences of hostilities, but to see the unique sea coast, historical and cultural heritage, and the underwater world.


Georgia


Georgia's experience is somewhat similar to Ukraine's, as it was through the war that people around the world learned about this country and began to take an active interest in its history and identity. At the same time, the active attraction of foreign investment has become one of the most important impetus for the development of tourism in the country.


Bosnia and Herzegovina


After the end of the armed conflict, the country began to actively rebuild the destroyed infrastructure. And the main destination that attracted the most tourists was based on var tourism. Exhibitions and commemorative events were organized for foreigners, and war memorials and museums were set up.


Restoring tourism in Ukraine: vectors and opportunities


Ukraine has many opportunities to restore tourism: from attracting foreign investment to developing modern varieties of tourism and strengthening its unique cultural image in the international arena. Already today, a huge number of countries and individual organizations and businesses are actively involved in the reconstruction of destroyed sites and de-occupied cities. Bucha, Irpin, and Mykolaiv are some of the many examples of such locations.


In addition, military tourism has also developed today, as Kyiv region, as well as certain districts of Mykolaiv and Kherson regions, are actively working to attract foreign tourists, in particular to help restore the regions and educate the public about the consequences of the russian invasion. By the way, Visit Ukraine and its partners have also launched a unique project - donation tours to Ukraine, which aims to attract foreigners to travel to the de-occupied and frontline regions of southern Ukraine and give everyone the opportunity to become a volunteer and part of Ukraine's victory. More information about the initiative can be found here.


And of course, the uniqueness of Ukrainian culture and the resilience of the Ukrainian people have made a separate contribution to the interest in Ukraine among the international community. And if now foreigners are more likely to choose to "observe from a safe distance," after the end of hostilities, a large number of people will come to Ukraine to "meet in person."


Thus, any destination requires careful preparation and active involvement of the authorities in the process. After all, the tourism industry is very sensitive to any challenges, and the safety of tourists is a basic need for the development of the destination. However, Ukraine already has all the prerequisites and opportunities for post-war development. And, as the head of the State Agency for Tourism Development (DART), Mariana Oleskiv, said at the Fitur International Tourism Fair in Madrid, the Ukrainian authorities already consider tourism as a pillar of the country's post-war revival.


Remember! Ukraine's borders remain open to foreign tourists, but traveling requires careful preparation and compliance with security measures. Therefore, planning a trip to Ukraine, first of all, you need to take care of the appropriate insurance policy, because any foreign insurance automatically terminates after crossing the Ukrainian border. In this case, we recommend that you take out insurance specifically covering military risks, which will cover not only standard medical care/treatment/diagnosis, etc. but also accidents and injuries caused by passive or direct military risks.

You can take out such insurance on the Visit Ukraine website. Follow the link and choose an insurance policy with the appropriate coverage and indemnity amount for the required period.


Read our previous article on how to organize an independent tour to Ukraine.


Photo: Reuters


Want to know more? Read the latest news and useful materials about Ukraine and the world in the News section.




We recommend purchasing it for a safe and comfortable trip to Ukraine: 


Visit Ukraine Insurance – safe travel in Ukraine (insurance covering military risks);

Visit Ukraine Legal advice – comprehensive legal support on entry to Ukraine;
Visit Ukraine Tickets – bus and train tickets to/from Ukraine;

Visit Ukraine Tours – the largest online database of tours to Ukraine for every taste;

Visit Ukraine Hotels – hotels for a comfortable stay in Ukraine;

Visit Ukraine Merch – patriotic clothing and accessories with worldwide delivery.




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