A white paper exploring the impact of the war in Ukraine on tourism businesses both there and in surrounding countries has been published to coincide with World Refugee Week.
The white paper, named Tourism for Ukraine Tourism: Key Actions the Tourism Industry Can Take to Support Ukraine and Neighbouring Countries, was put together by a taskforce made up of international organisations and experts from the region.
It aims to provide the global travel industry and travellers with a deeper understanding of the impact of the war on local providers – who are often small, family-run or independent – while offering advice on actions anyone in the industry can take to help address those challenges.
The paper is targeted at five groups: tourism businesses, industry associations, travellers, universities and educational organisations, and travel media and content creators.
It focuses on expected long-term consequences on the tourism sector and a list of actions relevant for anyone involved in tourism, followed by specific recommendations for each industry segment.
Suggested actions include hiring Ukrainian talent, promoting and selling holidays to neighbouring countries, offering training or access to events for tourism businesses from the region, and using social media channels to show solidarity for Ukraine.
While Ukraine is the focus of the white paper, it also addresses the impact on tourism in neighbouring countries, including Poland, Moldova and Slovakia.
The white paper revealed Poland, which has taken in and is hosting the largest number of refugees, has seen cancellations increase between 30%-40% for trips there from abroad.
Similarly, Moldova, which has taken in the most refugees per capita, has also experienced cancellations from international tourists.
Mariana Oleskiv, chair of the state agency for tourism development in Ukraine, said: “A new dawn will come, and when it does we need to be prepared. For that, we need your kind words, your professional advice and your experience in the development of tourism.
“Ukraine will be reborn and become a new big market, with new opportunities for investment, travel, unique experiences and emotions.”
Natalia Turcanu, executive director at the National Inbound and Domestic Tourism Association of Moldova, added: “We are calling for mutual support initiatives for the fragile tourism industry in Moldova, Ukraine and the region following the pandemic and the war-related insecurity circumstances, as tourism is that one sector celebrating the diversity of nations as a form of inclusion.
“It is also the cross-country partnership that could bring the culture and heritage of Eastern Europe closer to the rest of the world.”