‘Russia-Ukraine war spells dilemma for tourism in Europe’
The Russia-Ukraine crisis has started to take a toll on the travel and tourism industry, especially the countries bordering Ukraine due to the impacts on not only consumer travel confidence, but also economic activities of the Central and Eastern Europe countries.
This also followed the warning of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) that European countries will be affected by the Ukraine war, especially the neighbouring countries as the impact on airline cost would skyrocket due to frequent changes in energy prices or airlines avoiding the Russian airspaces.
Since 2017, Ukraine had the fastest rate of Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Index (TTCI) score growth in the Eurasia subregion, rising 10 places to rank 78th globally. Currently, tourism accounts only for 1.4 per cent of Ukraine’s GDP.
According to the Vice President of Germany’s Federal Association of the Alliance of Independent Travel Entrepreneurs, Anke Budde, the idea of going on vacation now seem far-flung.
However, while it is still too early to assess the impact of the war on the 2022 vacation season, there seem to be a setback as fewer people are currently making bookings especially to the Southern Europe.
“When people think of vacationing in Europe, Southern European countries, including Spain, France and Italy typically come to mind, as they typically attract the most tourists. Unfortunately, these countries are more likely to be affected. Central and Eastern Europe fall slightly behind them, but are still popular. Hungary and the Czech Republic are in demand when it comes to wellness stays and city breaks. Poland is known for its cities like Krakow and Warsaw, and villages on the Baltic Sea coast. Romania and Bulgaria, meanwhile, attract beach-loving tourists due to their location on the Black Sea. The Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania in the north, which border Russia and Belarus, tend to appeal to those who prefer sweeping landscapes and quiet towns with plenty of options for hiking and biking.”
On the implication of the Russia-Ukraine war on tourism, Germany’s Economics and Climate Protection Minister, Robert Habeck, during International Tourism Exchange (ITB), the world’s largest travel trades show held digitally in Berlin recently, said: “There was no better counterweight to war than tourism as people gain new experiences and even make friendships during their travels.”