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Ukraine Update

Written by  Mark Laoisa

Europe UIA
Ukraine is a remarkable and safe tourist destination and is currently experiencing “under tourism,” with just 14.2 million visitors in 2017. This means that your clients will experience the uncongested UNESCO world heritage sites that are drawing tourists to this eastern-most and largest European country. In fact, Kyiv is affectionately called the easternmost city in Western Europe.

Under tourism means there is abundant hotel room inventory, with a plethora of both name brand and exquisite local hotels. Other advantages - Ukraine is visa-free for US and Canadian citizens, with free high-speed internet throughout major cities. The currency exchange rate of one US dollar equals approximately 28 hryvnia, a pint of beer, about 50 cents, or splurge, a night at Kyiv’s National Opera of Ukraine which sells orchestra seats for approximately fifteen dollars.
Visitors to Ukraine usually combine two or three cities in their trip with the capital city, Kyiv, and Lviv, a Unesco-listed city that exudes the same authentic Central European charm as pre-tourism Prague.
Vincent Rees of Cobblestone Freeway Tours, located in Edmonton, Canada sees “Genealogical research growing, we’ve helped many people reconnect with families.” They can also arrange custom family tours, or one day family trips inserted into the existing itineraries. www.cobblestonefreeway.com

For independent travelers, Mr. Vitaliy Kulyk, director of the Lviv Tourism Development Centre, suggests the Lviv City Card, with a free walking and bus sightseeing tour, entrance to over twenty museums and galleries and free travel on the city’s trams and trolleys. The Lviv City Card is available in 24, 48, or 72-hour validity; the English language Lviv City Card app helps clients along the way. More information can be found at www.lviv.travel/en/index
Your clients can eat their way through Ukraine with one of the many culinary heritage tours where eco- and locavore have been the lifestyle for centuries. Folk-craft clients can experience local traditions taught by master craft people. Two of the most popular are hand-painted Easter eggs (pysanky) and straw doll making.
Another great option for travel planning is JC Tours, which features great tours throughout Ukraine and promises to provide experiences such as a hands on culinary tour including the secrets to making the perfect Varenyky (think local pierogis), and to see and experience Ukraine like locals do. They have a local contact number, 914.250.9032 or email
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Ms. Julia Kliutsuk, Executive Manager of Vacanture, based in the Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv, offers tours throughout the Ukraine. She highlighted several “must-sees,” the 11th century St. Sophia Cathedral, the Monastery of Caves that lie below the Byzantium inspired white and gold religious complex and the rebuilt St. Michael’s Monastery with golden bell tower and domes. Kyiv has several tourist passes for your clients to select. www.vacanture.com
The Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant had a catastrophic accident in 1986, causing an explosion and radiation release. Chernobyl Tours safely escorts visitors through parts of the abandoned cities, a time capsule to 1986 Soviet Russia, and nature’s return, giving insights into the interaction of man and nature.
www.Chernobyl-tours.com

GreGG Truman, General Manager for North America of UIA points out that they have non-stop flights between New York’s JFK and Kiev in just less than nine hours. Ukrainian International Airlines (www.flyuia.com) is updating its fleet, and in 2018 added seven aircraft, including three long haul Boeing 777-200ER and four new Boeing 737-800s with more to come in 2019. In addition, the airline values travel agent support, and offers commissions for qualifying agents, plus a dedicated help desk that can be reached by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Your clients can visit an uncrowded Ukraine and experience the people and culture at attractive prices. Spring is coming and is one of the best seasons to send your clients to experience such an underserved tourist destination.

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