Ukraine stresses the importance of tourism in rebuilding the country: «War is not won by fighting alone».

The former Minister of Development and Trade of Ukraine Pavlo Kujta and the president of the agency for the development of Tourism of Ukraine, Mariana Oleskiv, have stressed this Tuesday the importance of this sector for the future of their country after the war, pointing out that it goes beyond a warlike conflict and framing what is happening within a clash between “two systems”.

Former Ukrainian Minister of Development and Trade Pavlo Kujta and President of the Ukrainian Tourism Development Agency Mariana Oleskiv. - EUROPA PRESS

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Former Ukrainian Minister of Development and Trade Pavlo Kujta and President of the Ukrainian Tourism Development Agency Mariana Oleskiv. – EUROPA PRESS

“The way to counter the chaos is to try to build something. Yes, the number one priority in Ukraine right now is to win the war, but you don’t win it just on the battlefield. It is also won by building a future for the future and tourism is part of that,” said Kujta at a meeting organized by Madrid Foro Empresarial, on the occasion of the International Tourism Fair (FITUR).

“Tourism could be one of the industries that will help us to recover and we have to be prepared because when the time comes, we have to take very quick steps to promote Ukraine, to rebuild Ukraine”, Oleskiv stressed.

“It’s about building a future that will be more successful than the alternative that Russia has proposed. And that’s why we talk about economy. We talk about business, cultural ties, tourism,” Kujta explained.

“It is a war between two systems, an authoritarian one represented by Russia, and a democratic one represented by Ukraine (…) the democratic world is under attack (…) Ukraine is on the front line, but it is all our nations that are under attack and not only by Russia, but also by other authoritarian countries,” the former Minister of Development and Trade has assessed.

Therefore, he stressed the need to show all the peoples of the world that “the democratic way is the best way not only to govern a state and fight a war, but also to live (…) That is why we are talking about tourism”, said Kujta, who sees the sector as a mechanism of “cooperation” between countries that will bear “successful fruits in the future”.

WAR TOURISM In this sense, he pointed out that one of the attractions of the current Ukraine is to be the scenario in which history is being “written”, “not in the western, calm and prosperous” Europe. “I am sure that millions of people will be interested in trying to see it and get an idea of what happened,” he said.

“When they visit Kiev they will be able to see some of the areas that were occupied by Russia and also see the consequences, the war crimes, and understand how heroic the Ukrainian Army was (…) This is important to show the world how our people lived during these difficult times, how they fought and also to prevent similar situations in the future,” Oleskiv has expressed.

However, they are aware that the first step is to end the war or at least to decree a stable ceasefire while the conditions are negotiated. “We hope it will end this year. Hopefully we will achieve peace (…) and then go as the best way to help them, see what can be done, invest, open businesses, spend vacations,” Kujta said.

Oleskiv has also placed the tourism industry as a mechanism to normalize the situation that is lived daily in Ukraine, where the reality “does not look like the photos or movies” because although “it seems that if there is war, there are battlefields everywhere”, the truth is that people go on with their lives, “working and paying taxes so that the country continues to function”.

“People live their lives. They go to work, they go to restaurants, to the opera, to the theater. They travel with their families, with their children, to some resorts where they can not think so much about the war”, said Oleskiv, who assured that those who are in the front line of battle want those who are in the rear to “plan” the future for their return.


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