May 19, 2022by James Chapple
The European Travel Commission (ETC) has invited Ukraine to join the group to help the country support tourism workers caught up in the ongoing conflict with Russia and to ensure its travel sector is better positioned to handle a Recovery of incoming and outgoing tourism after the war to be planned.
Ukraine (pictured: Kyiv) was offered free ETC membership (source: iStock)
Ukraine’s State Agency for Tourism Development (SATD) has been offered three-year free ETC membership, the commission confirmed at its General Assembly in Slovenia, in a bid to welcome Ukraine permanently into the future.
The SATD normally works to promote Ukrainian tourism in domestic and foreign markets, but its work has largely come to a halt after the Russian invasion. SATD chair Mariana Oleskiv joined the ETC delegates from afar as the guest of honor.
Speaking at the meeting, Oleskiv shared first-hand insights into the conflict’s impact on Ukraine’s travel sector, including the work of the SATD and the country’s tourism community in support of the war effort, such as organizing evacuations and emergency shelters, as well as finding employment opportunities for tourism employees in safe regions.
ETC membership grants the SATD access to its resources, research and data. “It is hoped that through this membership, SATD will be better able to develop strategies for post-war recovery of Ukraine’s travel sector,” the ETC said.
Oleskiv said: “In these terrible times, when our country and our industry are under attack, it is encouraging to have such strong support from our partners across Europe. Ukraine is part of the European family and we look forward to working with ETC. We will restore travel and tourism in Ukraine and make it better together.”
ETC President Luis Araujo continued: “The European Travel Commission remains steadfast in its condemnation of the Russian military invasion of Ukraine. ETC’s founding principle is to promote travel as a catalyst for peace, understanding and respect.
“The renewal of free membership in the State Agency for Tourism Development of Ukraine is an act of solidarity and ETC will do its utmost to support its Ukrainian colleagues. We firmly believe that tourism is an instrument of peace and we stand by Ukraine in its reconstruction of the travel sector as soon as the situation permits.”
The ETC added: “Supporting tourism in Ukraine is also in line with ETC’s ongoing mission to strengthen and promote Europe as a tourist destination in foreign markets and to increase the value of tourism to European destinations through cooperation.
“This is important given the impact the conflict is already having on the European countries neighboring Ukraine and Russia, as well as European tourist destinations that rely on tourists from both regions.”