This year Ukrainians will have almost two weeks of May holidays. After long winter, everybody wants to have a good time. Someone prefers to go abroad, others are happy with Ukrainian places. ForUm has decided to find out where our country-fellows go this spring.

Where to go

Thinking about possible destination points Ukrainians take into account free entry and price/quality ratio. "Ukrainians prefer those countries that do not require entry visa, have cheap recreation program and provide maximum services. The popularity of cheap tours shifts from Turkey to Greece, from Greece to India. Egypt has lost its popularity this year, while Arab Emirates have become in demand. Goa and Sri-Lanka are still considered expensive countries, but thanks to charter flights, the interest is growing.  For May holidays Ukrainians prefer beach resorts, namely Turkey, Greece, Spain, Croatia, Slovenia," acting president of the Association of Leaders of the Tourist Business of Ukraine (ALTU) Oleksandr Novykovski says.

Starting from April, the so-called domestic tourism also becomes popular. "First, people buy out foreign tours, and a month or so before May holidays it is the turn of the Carpathians and Crimea. It depends on the weather, actually. As soon as the weather in Kyiv gets warmer, people start thinking about going to the south. Yalta tops the list popular resorts in Crimea. Black Sea is still cold in May and people go to Crimea not for swimming, but for clean air and day spas," member of the ALTU presidium Olena Bukhno explains.

According to the statistics, there are three times more citizens going on May holiday within Ukraine than abroad. "Vacations in the Carpathians or Crimea is more available, meaning people cat get their by cars and stay with friends/relatives or rent an apartment. Moreover, many people from various regions of Ukraine purchase apartments in Crimea for this very occasion," Bukhno says. "Domestic tourism will keep developing in Ukraine. Thanks to Eurovision, Euro-2012 and Eurobasket-2015 there are objects in Ukraine that can host tourists," Novykovski explains.

How to save money

The tours' cost for May holidays remains at the level of the last year, experts say. "More/less 5%, but these are traditional variations. Prices have increased slightly for tours to Sri-Lanka and Goa, but in general the price situation is stable and price rise is expected," Bukho states. Nevertheless, stability does not mean cheapness, while our people prefer to spend less money possible.

"First of all, a tourist must decide on the budget of the tour he plans, and proceeding from that to choose a transportation mean. Bus travel is the cheapest, then there is by car, by train and finally by plane, which is the most expensive travel. Then the tourism should decide on the level of a hotel. A two-star hotel will cost 10-30 euro per day, while a five-star hotel requires 500-800 euro. These are two positions tourists can save their money on. Other things are better to be taken care of properly. Do not ignore insurance policy. Study the region you are going to and read the comments of other tourists who have already been there," Novykovski recommends.

According to him, Ukrainian tourists have become more sophisticated. "Tourists start paying better attention to the documents a tour operator provides, including insurance policy and positions it covers. With every year passing our tourists become more experienced and informed," Novykovski adds.

Nevertheless, there are still cases of frauds, where tour operators cheat on their clients. "Buying a tour at least try to control the reliability of the operator. To minimize the risks, take the third party insurance, read thoroughly the contract and keep bills confirming the purchase. And be careful leaving Ukraine," the expert warns.

However, mistakes result into experience. According to the ALTU members, Ukrainian tourists are now well informed about peculiarities of advanced planning and have learned how to save money. "Early booking system allows saving 30-40% of the tour cost, and as of today, the number of such tours sold by tour operators makes up to 50% of annual amount," Novykvski informs and recommends planning vacations beforehand.

Even now there are tours affordable for middle-class Ukrainians. "Minimal price for a tour for two people is 7.5 thousand hryvnias. I am not saying it will be a luxurious five-star hotel, of course, but for this money Ukrainians can have a decent All-Inclusive one-week vacation somewhere in Turkey.  And this is exactly the sum Ukrainians are ready to spend for May holidays. Speaking about spending holidays in Ukraine, the most popular places are Crimean hotels, costing UAH 1200 per night. Health resorts with spa complexes will cost two thousand hryvnias per night, but they are not AI as in Turkey, for example," Bukhno explains. For this, the question about what is cheaper, Ukraine or abroad, remains open.

"Offers for Ukrainians, who want to go Europe, start from 120 euro - a bus tour with accommodation in a three-star hotel," Novykovski says.

If you do not want to go by bus, you can choose a different mean of transportation and save money on accommodation, choosing a stay in a hostel. "We do cooperate with hostels. If a client comes and says he does not have much money but is ready to live on the skirts of Paris, for example, and to pay 15 euro per day, we can arrange this. However, the conditions of such accommodations are not that great - a 10 sq m room, a district inhabited not by natives but by immigrants, poor furnishing, tiny bathroom, etc. However, it is all about attitude. If a tourist goes to Europe to see the place around, he would probably spend the whole day outside and would come back in the hotel only to sleep. Thus, the most important is that the place is clean, and the size does not matter in this case," Bukhno says. However, tour operators do not like much cooperating with hostel, because it brings bigger responsibility for organizers of tours, and the contract cannot provide for all small details. 

Well, regardless of the place you go, Sri-Lanka or the Carpathians, remember about the sun cream and insurance policy, and about the fact that coming back home you will have to stretch out money to the next salary...

Tetyana Hryhoriyeva


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