There will be no mass tourism in Crimea: Sergey Vikarchuk on the global crisis and the prospects for the Crimean resort season

There will be no mass tourism in Crimea: Sergey Vikarchuk on the global crisis and the prospects for the Crimean resort season

What is happening to Ukrainian tourism amid the COVID-19 pandemic? What prospects does Crimea have in 2020? Will Russians and Ukrainians go to rest on the peninsula? And where in Crimea is it better to go during the coronavirus epidemic? On these and other topical topics on the air of Radio Crimea. ealiy presenter Kateryna Nekrechaya talks with the Ukrainian expert of the tourism industry, the former chief specialist of the department of resorts and tourism of the Evpatoria city council, Sergey Vikarchuk.

- According to the World Travel and Tourism Council, more than 330 million people are employed in the tourism sector, that is, every tenth job in the world. The organization predicts that a third of them, more than 108 million employees, may lose their jobs this year. At the same time, in 2019, the share of tourism in world GDP was 10.3%. How hard has this crisis hit Ukraine, Serhiy?

- Now in the tourism sector, everything is very deplorable. In the past three months, my agency has practically not worked - we are waiting for the borders to open and it will be possible to rebook the applications that we already had. There are about 10 thousand such companies in Ukraine. But in the tourism sector, not only tour operators are involved, but also transport companies, insurers, as well as related businesses that provide various goods and services. Many spheres of the economy are closely related to tourism, and they also suffer losses. The tourist potential of Ukraine has always been underestimated, the authorities were not careful about it. We still do not have a ministry that would deal with this area, there is no comprehensive assessment of its contribution to the economy.

- Are you going, given the circumstances, to convert, for example, to domestic tourism?

- It all depends on supply and demand. As soon as demand arises, we begin to develop in this direction. Ukrainian tourism is very difficult for business: firstly, it is poorly organized, secondly, the client can work directly with the accommodation bases, and thirdly, the transport system is poorly established. In the basic tour to Egypt there is a flight, transfer, accommodation, insurance, meals, and unfortunately we cannot collect such a tour, and the price will turn out to be high. Nevertheless, the prospects for the development of domestic tourism are quite large. We are now developing the direction of sightseeing tours for the weekend or for several days - for example, "Hutsul Vacations". Although this offer is tempting, tourists are still wary of travel. People are afraid to travel on public transport, let alone eight hours of travel. We are also now organizing yacht trips along the Dnieper, there is a certain demand for them.

- In April, you expressed on our air the opinion that it is better for the tourism business in Crimea to wait out the peak of the pandemic, so that later it will fully open, albeit with a delay. What do you think now?

- Of course, I still want Crimea to develop as a tourist region. And not only as a summer resort - here you can develop medical tours, excursions, pilgrimages, and so on. Naturally, I would like this kind of development for Crimea as part of Ukraine. I hope that the 2020 season on the peninsula will begin, but it will not take place if the tourist is not psychologically ready to go. Therefore, I would still recommend that hotels, resorts and companies wait a while before starting to work at full capacity.

- How do you think the tourism sector in Crimea has developed over the past six years?

- In my opinion, of the notable improvements in this regard, only infrastructure can be noted - Simferopol airport, Kerch bridge and road construction. However, the same tourist centers that we developed before 2014 exist in the same form. I do not see how Crimea as a resort could surprise tourists today, in what way it has become better over the past six years.

- Where would you go in Crimea, if there was such an opportunity?

- First of all, I would like to go to the mountains. You can independently climb to the lower, to the upper plateau of Chatyr-Dag, walk in the forest, in the mountains, find some caves. There are few people on these slopes and are always cleaner. Taking into account the situation with the coronavirus, I would recommend just such walks in the fresh air. Then I would personally go to the beaches between Saki and Evpatoria - this is my favorite area. There are both sandy and pebbly beaches, there is also good air and almost no people. You could also take a walk in the steppe. In general, I want to get to such secluded places, although, of course, I wildly miss my Evpatoria, where it was difficult to walk along the embankment because of the crowds of tourists.

- Do you predict the influx of Russian tourists to Crimea this year?

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