Ukrainian tour operators have not yet recorded declines in tourist flow and early booked tours to Western Europe cancellation due to new coronavirus spread, but the number of early bookings may be cut, experts have told Interfax-Ukraine.
“There are no epidemics in Europe yet, the situation in Italy does not affect tourism volumes and flows. Perhaps if in the future the situation gets out of control and becomes threatening, then we will review programs related to Europe trips in order to restrict them. However, there are no cancellations, nor fear. We are working as usual,” Oleksandr Novikovsky, the Director General of Tez Tour operator, said.
At the same time, tourists, who early booked tours to Italy would like to know, how to cancel the trip, Mandruy travel agency said.
“With regard to the news about coronavirus spread in Italy, customers who had early booked tours there began to be interested in option of cancellation, especially for tours to the Northern part of Italy. Basically, they are only specifying the possibility, since the competent authorities did not officially forbid visiting Italy. The air flights have not yet been canceled, as happened earlier, for example, with China,” the company said.
According to the Director of Tourism Development Center, Volodymyr Tsaruk, it is likely that the number of early bookings may be cut.
“It may be supposed that the demand for early booking will decrease, although in 2020 the level of early booking was already much higher than in 2019 and 2018. Due to the fact that it is not clear how the situation will develop, people will be careful even with regions of traditional trips that haven’t suffered so far, like Turkey and Spain. So I think there will be a quiet period, it’s not yet clear how European countries will react,” he said.
As reported, from February 24, there is an obligatory temperature screening of citizens who arrive by direct flights from Italy to Boryspil and Kyiv international airports.
According to Italian media, the Italian authorities are ready to take emergency measures related to the outbreak of Wuhan coronavirus Covid-19 in the north of the country.
The Ministry of Economic Development and Trade of Ukraine has promulgated a draft law that proposes raising financial support for tour operators by 10 times and introducing fines for illegal use of categories by hotels.
According to the text of the draft law posted on the ministry’s website, the amount of financial provision for a tour operator should be at least 5% of the annual sales volume for the previous year, but not less than EUR 200,000 for the operator offering outbound tourism services (against EUR 20,000 in current legislation), not less than EUR 100,000 for tour operators of inbound and domestic tourism (against EUR 10,000), not less than EUR 50,000 for operators of domestic tourism. At the same time, financial support for travel agents must be at least 5% of the annual sales volume, but not less than EUR 20,000.
The size of guarantees for newly established tour operators is equal to the lower threshold depending on the chosen type of tourism, or EUR 10,000 per travel agent.
The Ministry of Economic Development and Trade also proposes stipulating fines for violators of tourism legislation, in particular, for illegal use of tourist infrastructure categories and not providing tourist entry and departure under the contract in the amount of 100-500 non-taxable minimum incomes of citizens, and for repeated violations during the year some 800-1,000 non-taxable minimum incomes of citizens.
Some 3.376 million people used services of Ukrainian tour operators in 2018. Total income of travel companies was UAH 16.9 billion (without VAT), according to the statistics on the website of the Economic Development and Trade Ministry of Ukraine. According to the ministry, the largest number of tourists used services of the following companies: Join UP! (902,600 people, including 878,400 Ukrainians traveling abroad), ANEX Tour (515,600 Ukrainians traveling abroad), and Accord Tour (279,700 people, including 260,500 Ukrainians traveling abroad).
Leaders among travel companies also include (284,900 people), Coral Travel (243,700 people), and TUI Ukraine (230,400 people).
Tour operators sold 1.56 million tours worth around UAH 37.766 billion in 2018.
As reported, total income of Ukrainian tour operators in 2017 was UAH 13.14 billion. Some 2.56 million people used their services.
A total of 2.56 million people used services of Ukrainian tour operators in 2017, and total revenue of tour companies accounted for UAH 13.14 billion, according to a posting on the website of the Regional Development, Construction, Housing and Utilities Economy Ministry of Ukraine. According to the report, the largest number of tourists in 2017 used services of Join UP! tour operator (703,400 people, including 678,000 Ukrainians travelling abroad), ANEX Tour (453,800), and Travel Professional Group (240,700). ANEX Tour (UAH 5.53 billion), Travel Professional Group (UAH 3.27 billion) and TUI Ukraine (UAH 1.95 billion) saw the largest profit.
Among the leaders in the number of tourists are also companies TEZ Tour (233,700), Coral Travel (199,800) and TUI Ukraine (136,200); by the amount of profit seen – Kyivsky Sputnik (UAH 237 million), Siesta (UAH 173 million), Yana Luxury Travel (UAH 123.3 million), Kiy Avia (UAH 11.1.2 million), New Standard (UAH 100.3 million), Orbita (UAH 57.3 million), and Club Med (UAH 57.2 million).
In 2017, tour operators sold 1.26 million vouchers with a total value of about UAH 27.9 billion. 790,700 vouchers were sold directly to the population, of which 742,100 were vouchers for Ukrainians to travel abroad, 38,600 vouchers for Ukrainians to travel within the country, and 10,000 to foreigners for traveling in Ukraine.