The Reform of Ukrainian Tourism is Happening Right Now

On September 17, 2019, a regular, and, in our opinion, fateful meeting of the expert group “Tourism Reforms 2019” took place at the Kyiv President Hotel. From the newly formed government, Pavel Kornienko, Coordinator of the Office of the Humanitarian Policy for Tourism, has participated in the meeting. The President of the Western Cherkaschyna Tourist Cluster Alexander Fainin was invited to the event. The attendees, most of whom participated in the preparation of draft documents, industry road map and other recommendations, unanimously made the following decisions:

  1. To approve tourism as the # 1 priority for Ukraine’s economic development in order to achieve the following indicators by 2022 and create conditions for sustainable growth in the future:
  • 9% of GDP
  • 30% of exports
  • Every 11th job

Indicators are average for 200 countries around the world according to the UNWTO official data for 2018 and, at the same time, the lowest among more developed tourist countries.

2. In order to effectively realize the economic, geo-political, social and environmental potential of the tourism industry in Ukraine, it is imperative to contact officials and representatives of state power (the President, the Cabinet of Ministers, the Verkhovna Rada and others) regarding urgent decision-making and the creation of a separate state executive body on issues tourism and resorts with certain functions and powers.

3. In order to stimulate sustainable development of tourism and investment activity in Ukraine in 2019, make appropriate changes to the legislation of Ukraine on tourism and resorts.

4. To provide written recommendations for the proper elaboration and approval by the legislative and executive branches of government together with the business community and the public of a single roadmap for the development of tourism and resorts in Ukraine.

In addition, it was decided to contact international organizations, donors and investors to coordinate the EU’s work on sustainable tourism development in Ukraine.

The following day, on September 18, the community appealed to the President of Ukraine V. Zelensky, the Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine D. Razumkov, the Prime Minister of Ukraine O. Goncharuk and other power holders to urge the speeding up of tourism reform. A copy of the appeal can be seen below.

The rallying of entrepreneurs and experts in the tourism and hospitality industry took place in early January 2019 amid scandalous changes to the Tax Code of Ukraine, when several MPs made the minimum wage rather than the cost of living in the accommodation as the basis for calculating the tourist fee. These actions led to the fact that the hostel, where the cost of accommodation is 200 UAH, and a 5-star hotel with a cost of 5000 UAH, paid the same touristic fee. That is, the legal small and medium-sized business had to either go into the shadows or cease operations.

Today, the expert group takes into account the experience of previous years, international trends, as well as elaborated a number of strategic issues for the development of the industry and developed proposals for legislators and the government on the urgent needs of reforming the tourism sector and recognizing it as budgetary.

The next meeting of the 2019 Tourism Reform Expert Group will take place on October 8, 2019. Stay tuned for our information as well as live broadcast on our FB page.

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