, 1er journal des professionnels du tourisme francophone

Political instability in Ukraine: tour operators are pessimistic about the 2015 season

All departures have been canceled

The violence and political instability happening in Ukraine have de facto ended its tourism season. The national airline and the main tour operators canceled all of their departure, remaining very pessimistic about their scheduled activities in 2015.

Rédigé par Laury-Anne CHOLEZ translated by Joséphine Foucher le Dimanche 11 Mai 2014

Tourists have deserted Ukraine due to the ongoing conflict - DR : CroisiEurope.
Tourists have deserted Ukraine due to the ongoing conflict - DR : CroisiEurope.
The political events that have been troubling Urkraine for the last few months have halted the efforts of Ukraine International Airlines to develop on the French market.

Unfortunately because the company had organized study trips with tourism professionals who after falling under the spell of the country's beauty, were ready to include it in their brochures.

“We were beginning to receive contract requests from some tour operators,” regrets Guillaume Arenas, Business and Marketing Director.

But the annexing of Crimea by Russia was the final blow ending these promising development opportunities.

Adding insult to injury, all of the flights to Crimea are suspended until June 27th, 2014 due to the government's shutdown of the airways.

The French Ministry of Foreign Affairs now advises against traveling to the peninsula that has declared its independence along with the whole Eastern part of the country bordering Russia.

A disastrous situation for one of the most touristy regions of Ukraine that is much appreciated for its subtropical climate and resorts.

Professionals feeling pessimistic for the 2015 season

Guillaume Arenas does everything possible to reassure his worried clients. “The Kiev airport is totally secure. We have excellent punctuality rates.

While transit traffic is maintained, purely leisure travelers are becoming rare.

Thankfully, the company had engaged in diversifying its routes to some destinations that remain very popular such as Turkey with Istanbul, Thailand with Bangkok, Israel with Tel Aviv, as well as Armenia, Georgia, and Dubai.

At Amslave, there was still hope just last February during the presentation of the brochure. But today, Blandine Vignals, the Business Director is clear: nobody wants to go to Ukraine.

The Tour Operator had managed to take 300 clients to the country last year and had expanded its production.

But under the current conditions, it is impossible to maintain marketing efforts. “The 2014 season is completely over. This is a shame because the country has lots of potential.”

Same observation at CroisiEurope that canceled its 10 programmed trips to the Dniepr river just a month ago. The cruising company had 400 spots and already 300 confirmed clients for this 12 day itinerary, including Yalta and Sebastopol as the key stopovers.

“We didn’t want to have to cut off our three most beautiful days on the route. We preferred to stop everything and we were proven right by looking at how the events unfolded” explains Martine Boyelle, production manager for “Grands Fleuves.”

She also remains very pessimistic for the 2015 season. “I can hardly envision a comeback of Ukraine in next year’s brochure.

Production is going to be very complicated, especially in Crimea. Will a visa now be required? Will the Russians allow ships to circulate? During such uncertain times, I prefer to wait.”

In 2013, over 25,7 million tourists went to Ukraine, an increase of 1,2 million travelers from the previous year, according to the Ukraine Tourism Agency. A growth that be will cut short in 2014.

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