The current tensions between Ukraine and Russia are expected to affect the tourism sector significantly in the country, which started seeing positive trends in the industry before the pandemic.
Airlines such as Air France and Lufthansa have reportedly suspended services to the Ukrainian capital – Kiev and Odessa, with tourists unable to travel to or from these destinations, TheSchengen.com reports.
The situation in Ukraine will also affect tourism across the European Union, especially Poland, where Ukrainians have been an important source for the central European country’s market. In addition, developing markets such as Romania and Bulgaria will also see a decline, as these destinations will face a challenging year for the tourism industry.
>> More European airlines cancel flights to Ukraine as tensions escalate
According to the Global Data Demand and Tourism Flows Database, Ukraine showed a significant increase in inbound tourism in the first five years of the pre-pandemic period (2014-2019), reaching 2.5 million visitors in 2019. This number decreased by 71 percent in 2020, as the pandemic hit the world and affected the tourism sector.
However, domestic travel showed the first signs of recovery reaching 1.2 million passengers in 2021. Moreover, Ukraine became one of the leading countries in the field of outbound tourism, with numbers jumping from 4.7 million to 9.2 million in a decade (2009-2019) .
Although geopolitical tension will affect tourism, the industry is expected to return to normal as the country becomes more stable, as happened previously with Turkey in 2016. Global data further show that due to political tensions, the tourism industry could drop by 28 and 18 percent.
With tensions rising and Ukraine expected to declare a state of emergency, eastern European countries discussed a large number of refugees to flood their country, asking for international protection.
Previously, Poland’s deputy interior minister, Maciej Wiesek, said the country should be prepared to take in about a million refugees.
In addition, Krzysztof Kosiński, mayor of Ciechanów, the city in north-central Poland, urged authorities to define requirements for the absorption of immigrants.
“The list of accommodation facilities for refugees, the number of people that can be accommodated, the costs involved and the time to adapt the buildings with a recommendation is up to 48 hours,” said Mayor Kosiski.
>> The number of Ukrainians with valid residence permits in Poland exceeds 300,000
In addition to Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia, it is also preparing to receive immigrants to Ukraine, where experts estimated that five million people could leave the country.
Poland is home to more than two million Ukrainians, most of whom live in the central European country on a work basis.