Travel company ‘Visit Ukraine’ wants tourists to visit Ukraine right now

Sunny beaches and carefree relaxation are what we picture when we think about vacations. However, having fun is not the only reason to travel. Occasionally, the complete opposite. To attract tourists to some of the regions of Ukraine impacted by the war, the tourism agency ‘Visit Ukraine’ has started a campaign. In an interview with CNN Travel, Anton Taranenko, the organization’s founder, said that the goal of these excursions is to aid Ukraine while also demonstrating to the outside world how daily life in the nation continues despite the conflict. Ukraine welcomed more than 4 million visitors last year.

“Visit Ukraine begins work on the launch of dark tourism in Ukraine,” says the website. Tours are typically comprised of about 10 people led by a guide and take about 3-4 hours, and the visits involve guides, tourism experts, and memory specialists so that tourists can see what happened in Ukraine. The site says that people who sign up for “Brave City” tours would be able to visits cities such as Cherniv, Bucha, Irpin, all of them affected by the war.

Since the website was modified, more than 200 excursions have been scheduled, according to Taranenko, who spoke to Business Insider. Despite the fact that many bookings have come from US citizens, Taranenko stated that some persons who are interested in the excursions are Ukrainians who were displaced or had moved to other nations before the war.

Visit Ukraine launches dark tourism in Ukraine

The company, which “works very close to the government” of Volodymyr Zelenski, according to Taranenko, offers different excursions in Kiev and its surroundings and other areas which bore a heavy burden at the beginning of the war, such as Kharkov, the second most important city in Ukraine. These days the fighting is concentrated in the south of the country and the eastern region of Dombas.

Among the excursions offered are a day in Kiev (“Kiev fascinates you with its hospitality and will open your heart”), Kamianets-Podilsky (“it is the only city located on a natural island surrounded by a deep canyon), Odessa (the Pearl of the Black Sea and today under Russian siege), Mezhyhirya (the former presidential residence) and the Buki Gorge (“visit small Switzerland”). Prices range from 38 to 200 euros.

But other tours allude directly to the war. For example, the excursion to Cherniv (“heroism to the northern capital”), “indestructible Kharkov”, Bucha and Irpin (“strong and invulnerable”), all at 50 euros leaving from the capital. Bucha was the scene of a massacre attributed to Russian soldiers last March. Meanwhile, Irpin, on the outskirts of the capital, was one of the major centers of Ukrainian resistance at the outbreak of the war.

“We regularly check the situation so we can monitor the different levels of safety,” he says, pointing out that many Ukrainians have now returned to areas they initially fled, particularly the capital Kyiv, due to the invasion.
“Ukraine is rising again, people are coming back to cities, municipalities are starting to rebuild, cities are recovering from the horrors and there are one million foreigners in the country. Kyiv is now the most visitable and safest place,” says Taranenko.

Taranenko noted that many famous foreign artists have already visited Ukraine since the beginning of the war” such as Angelina Jolie, Jessica Chastain or Ben Stiller. “And many others are planning to do so in the short term,” he said.

When booking a tour, travelers will receive recommendations on a safe visit to Ukraine, professional guide support, transportation if necessary, and an insurance policy covering risks.

The portal offers all the information required to know where to go, what to do in an emergency, how to enter or leave the country, or how to flee a hazardous area. It also serves as a reminder that Ukraine is under martial law, which prohibits air travel but permits land travel for outsiders entering and leaving.

Checkpoints at the border with Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania and Moldova “are open and secure,” he emphasized. Quite the opposite of those on the borders with Russia, Belarus and the Transnistrian region.

Business Insider reports that the Ukrainian government has not given the tourism destination any formal approval. At this time, the highest level of travel advice is in effect for Ukraine. In Ukraine, the US Department of State has issued a warning that it will be unable to help any Americans.

According to the website, all proceeds from tour sales will be used to aid Ukrainian refugees.




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