JSC Ukrzaliznytsia wants at least 50% of tourists traveling throughout Ukraine to choose the railway, head of Ukrzaliznytsia Volodymyr Zhmak said.
“In these conditions, we pay attention to domestic tourism, since external tourism is going through hard times. Ukrzaliznytsia considers domestic tourism to be one of those directions that can develop and bring funds to the Ukrainian economy. We want to reach a target of 50% of all tourists who travel in Ukraine. Encourage them to change buses to our comfortable passenger cars,” Zhmak said during a roundtable with the State Agency for Tourism Development of Ukraine and tour operators in Kyiv on Thursday.
The head of Ukrzaliznytsia said that the company is already working in this direction.
“We are already lowering the cost of tickets in the first class, we provide a flexible system of discounts for the redemption of tickets long before the departure date. In addition, we reduce a group booking rate. If earlier tour operators had to pay UAH 200 for a tourist of the group, then we reduce it to UAH 80. And then we will introduce a scale: the larger the group, the less you [tour operators] pay for each member of the group,” he said.
Ukraine plans to increase the annual flow of foreign tourists to 30 million people, domestic to 60 million by 2030, and also intends to increase the industry’s share in GDP to 10%, according to the National Economic Strategy 2030, presented by Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal on Friday.
According to the document entitled “Vectors of Economic Development” published within the framework of the National Economic Strategy 2030, Ukraine ranks 78th in the Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index, while the goal is to rise to the 45th place by 2030.
Last year, the number of accommodation facilities in Ukraine increased by 13% – up to 5,300, while the number of beds was 370,000. At the same time, the average number of beds concerning the area of the country in Ukraine is 1.6/sq. m, while in Europe this figure is 9.2/sq.m, the document says with reference to a number of statistical departments.
According to the document, the export of tourist services in Ukraine at the end of 2019 amounted to $1.62 billion, of which 90% is personal tourism.
In addition, among the competitive advantages of Ukraine is the size of the average check for hotels, which, taking into account their operating profitability at the level of 40%, opens up potential for hotels in the three-four star segment.
The document creators also call the market of recreational and health-improving services and human resources the strengths of Ukrainian tourism.
Challenges include safety and security, environmental resilience, protection of natural resources, and outdated transport infrastructure. The priority is, among other things, improving the comfort system, managing quality and introducing a classification system by hotel categories.
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European Travel Insurance (ERV, Kyiv) in three summer months of 2020 insured 63% fewer tourists than a year ago, when over 612,000 tourists were insured, the insurance company has said in a press release.
The number of tourists insured by the company who traveled in Ukraine fell by 58% and those traveling abroad – by 64%. In June-August 2020, ERV insured more than 191,000 tourists who traveled abroad, and more than 35,000 tourists who traveled across the country.
“For the company, as well as for the entire tourism industry, the summer was difficult. It was unrealistic to make any plans in the ever-changing situation on the travel market. Although the borders opened and air traffic resumed early June, tourists are seriously scared by the sad experience of quarantine, they were not in a hurry to plunge into the world of travel again. During the summer, the tourism business learned to work in a pandemic, and tourists got used to traveling in new realities,” ERV said.
According to the company, in general, over the summer period, 1,873 insurance accidents were registered with tourists abroad for the amount of UAH 10,602 and 45 – with those traveling across the territory of Ukraine for a total of UAH 122,000.
If in June only 86 insurance accidents with tourists abroad were recorded, then in August their number increased to 1,417 for the amount of UAH 7.326 million. Of these, 908 cases occurred in Turkey (for comparison: in July, 360 insurance accidents were recorded abroad, 243 of them occurred with vacationers in Turkey, 215 cases occurred in Egypt, 121 accidents occurred with tourists in Bulgaria. Other insured accidents in August were reported with tourists in Croatia (51), Montenegro (31) and Albania (14).
Egypt expects an increase in the flow of tourists from Ukraine in the autumn and expects by the end of 2020 to “catch up” with the indicators of 2019, when the country was visited by more than 1.7 million tourists from Ukraine, Managing Director of ODEON Tours, the host of Coral Travel in Egypt, Abdallah Tarek has said.
“We expect that after the end of the crisis, which lasted three or four months, the number of Ukrainian tourists in Egypt will be the same as last year. Namely, 1.7 million tourists from Ukraine. Given that the season in Egypt begins in winter period, we are now in a low summer season and expect growth in the autumn,” he said.
According to him, this year Egyptian hotels have kept prices at the level of the previous year.
To encourage tourists, the Egyptian government has canceled tourist visa fees for Ukrainians until October 31, 2020. In addition, if Ukrainian tourists have contracted with coronavirus COVID-19, all costs associated with the disease will be fully covered by state-suspended insurance.
At the same time, according to Tarek, the guest will be accommodated free of charge in an isolated room or hospital until complete recovery. And if Egypt enters the “red zone” again, the tour operator Coral Travel will provide its guests with free testing upon their return to Ukraine.
“I can say with confidence that it is now very safe to come to Sharm el-Sheikh and Hurghada. Each beach hotel has one isolated floor or a separate building in which each infected guest will be isolated with the support and accompaniment of the Ministry of Health, as well as the hotel itself and tour operator Coral Travel,” the managing director of ODEON Tours said.
He also said that as part of measures to counter the spread of COVID-19, the tour operator has created a new application, Coral App, which will contain all relevant information about the tour, aircraft schedule or transfer. Also, all printed materials have been removed, now the information is available in the application.
According to the requirements of the Egyptian government, only hotels that have received the Hygiene Safety Certificate are eligible to receive guests. To ensure that all standards and protocols are adhered to, each hotel has a dedicated health and safety manager and hotel occupancy rates must not exceed 50%.
“We adhere to all the rules introduced by our government, in particular, 50% occupancy during transfers, the obligation of guests to wear masks and disinfect their hands before getting on the bus. All guides undergo mandatory training on how to act, how to protect guests from the threat of the spread of COVID-19, study their responsibilities, including drivers,” Tarek said.
Among the hotels that have received the necessary state certificate and have already opened for guests are five-star Otium Family Amphoras Beach Resort, which is part of the OTI Hotels & Resorts International network, and Rixos Premium Seagate (both in Sharm el-Sheikh).
President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky said that visa liberalization for tourists from China and India should be carried out as soon as possible.
According to the presidential press service, the head of the state said this at a meeting with the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine members on Monday, July 13, at which Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said that the government is actively working on the issue of liberalizing the visa regime for tourists from these countries.
Тhe number of tourists who visited Odessa in June of this year returned to the pre-quarantine level, according to geo-analytics of the Vodafone Ukraine mobile communications operator/
The press service of the company reported that on Constitution Day tourists in Odesa were twice as much as on March 8. Most tourists came from Kyiv region. Residents of Odesa region were in second place, followed by Kherson, Zaporizhia and Dnipropetrovsk regions.
“Judging by the increase in Internet traffic and the number of 4G users, in general, domestic tourism in Ukrainian sea resorts in Odesa, Mykolaiv and Kherson regions has grown by 30% compared to the same weekend last year,” the operator said.
According to Vodafone Ukraine, coastal resort towns and villages of the Sea of Azov in Zaporizhia and Donetsk regions showed even greater dynamics.
Vodafone Ukraine said that the coastal villages of Donetsk region are among the new destinations with growing popularity among tourists: Bilosaraiska Kosa (177% up), Yalta (124% up) and Urzuf (101% up), which showed the highest traffic growth.
“The forecast of resort attendance based on their own data analytics allows the company’s engineers to provide sufficient network capacity – using stationary equipment and mobile towers – in hot spots, taking into account the organic growth of traffic,” Vodafone Ukraine said.