Though the crisis is still kicking the experts' data shows that in 2011 the market of tourist services of Ukraine reached the figures of the pre-crisis year of 2008. According to the data of the Ministry for Infrastructure, in the first year of the economic crisis only 1.28 million Ukrainians applied for tourist services, while in 2011 the figures grew up to 1.4 million. By the results of the first half of this year, tour operators point the increase of the demand by other 10%.

ForUm decided to look closer at the touristic preferences and price of 2012.

Turkey or Maldives?..

Analysts confirm that the majority of tourists still prefer 'all inclusive' system. However, more and more travelers try to optimize their vacation expenses and to see the world. Consequently, the interest to weekend tours and bus tours to Europe has increased.

The deputy director of 'Pan Ukraine' tour operator Olga Yudenko says that clients are more and more interested in outside activities, including hiking. In her turn, the director general of 'B Movie' tour operator Valentyna Kustova adds that bus tours, so popular lately, also include some days on the beach, which meets the requirements of the majority of clients.

Speaking about the 'sea' directions, the rating of summer 2012 is as follows:

- The first place is occupied by Thailand, UAE, Crimea, Turkey and Georgia (65% of total sales or 2/3 of the domestic tourist market).

- The more expensive direction include Spain, Italy, France, Portugal and Mexico (20% of total sales).

- The exotic tours take 15% of the market and include Maldives, Mauritius, Bali, Vietnam and Sri Lanka.

Among the latest offers, there are Gulf countries like Qatar and Bahrain. Mexico, Seychelles and Mauritius remain the most expensive due to the flight with $2500 minimum per person for a week.

Some words about expenses. According to the specialists, the average budget of a tourist in 2012 is 1000-1500 euro for two. 'Pan Ukraine' says that with this sum the tourists can visit Czech Republic, Greece, Spain, Turkey, Georgia and Emirates for a week. The minimal vacation expenses of Ukrainians are 500-550 euro for two. This sum is enough to take a week tour for two to Bulgaria, including the flight and two meals. "However, the interest in Bulgaria is dropping due to the introduction of consular fee of 22 euro. Counting the visa fee, the entry in Bulgaria now costs 57 euro, which is groundlessly expensive," Kustova says.

Antalia was considered the cheapest resort among all Turkey's offers. However, in 2012 it costs 30% more than Aegean coast, which used to be more expensive and prestigious.

Despite the unstable political situation, Egypt remains one of the popular directions. "It's already almost impossible to buy a tour two weeks in advance. And by the autumn the demand will grow again. We've already applied for the increased number of flights," a sales manager of Tez Tour operator in Ukraine Arcadiy Maslov says.

He also added that tours to Croatia and Montenegro are sold out thanks to the abolition of visa and increased number of charters (now not only from Kyiv, but from Dnipropetrovs'k, Kharkiv, Donetsk and Odessa as well).

As for the Emirates, the tour operators say the tours have dropped in prices lately, probably due to the heat.

The financial crisis in Greece has resulted into cheaper tours and, according to Yudenko, the discounts make 20% of the price, first of all for hotel accommodations. If last year a week vacation for two in a 3-start hotel of the Rhodes island with two meals and round trip cost 1000 euro, this year it costs 800 euro. The price for 5-star hotels ahs dropped from 1800 euro to 1500 euro. There are even last minutes offers at 300 euro per person.

The price decline for tourist services in Ukraine is also conditioned by the arrival of low-cost airlines (WizzAir, flyDubai, AirArabia). The possible arrival of RyanAir may decrease the price for Europe tours even more.

Home dearest

We want to speak separately about domestic tourism. It's not a secret that for the last 5-7 years Ukrainians who used to go on vacation in Crimea have replaced it with Turkey and Egypt. The explanations say that for the same money, and sometimes even cheaper, one gets better service abroad than at home.

Evil tongues used to say that this year season in Crimea would be a failure. However, according to the Tourism Ministry of Crimea, already two million people have already visited the peninsular for the first half of the year, which is 10% more amid same period of the last year. Economist Ruslan Pavlenko admits that this year season can become of the most successful for the last five years. Euro-2012 brought many foreign tourists in Ukraine, including Crimea, while Ukrainians ran to Crimea to escape the buzz of the championship. "We also had fan-zone, where people could cheer for their teams, but in addition they could go to swim afterwards," Crimean minister for resorts and tourism Oleksandr Liyev says.

Besides, the election campaign forced politicians and political strategists into staying at home, hence the first choice of vacation direction is Crimea dearest. Anyway, the statistics data of 2011 shows 1.6 million people who went on vacation abroad against 6 million tourists who went to Crimea. In 2012, it is expected up to 7 million visitors, despite the fact the service does lag behind the service in Turkey and Egypt.

According to the official information, the most popular budget variants within Crimea are apartments and family hotels. A big part of tourists comes by cars and stays in tents, as the prices for tour vacation has increased by 20-25%. The most affordable accommodations are in Kercha and Yevpatoria, the most expensive - in Yalta. However, Crimea remains the headliner on sightseeing (nature, history, wine degustation), as Turkey and Egypt cannot provide such big choice of cultural places to visit.

This year Crimea is popular among CIS countries, especially Russian due to the flood in Kuban. Besides, the Russian coast of Black Sea is more expensive than Crimea.

Besides, the sea is not the only option and there are other possibilities, like mountains and rivers. A vacation in the Carpathians, for example, is cheaper and brings different natural and cultural local color. Among the rivers, we want to point our popular resorts on Shatski lakes, Dnepr, Desna, Dnestr, South Bug, recreation zone on mineral waters of Truskavets, Morshyn, Svlyava and others. As the statistics shows, this year more and more Ukrainians prefer 'local' resorts, and not only because of money saving but thanks to their proximity or just for a change. 

All the above mentioned proves that Ukraine has huge touristic potential, and to understand this one should not analyze the national market of touristic services, it would be enough just to look at the map of Ukraine with all its seas and rivers, mountains and cities.

As the saying goes, welcome to Ukraine.

Andriy Boyarunets


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