Lala, it is obvious, that the revolution of 2013 influenced the tourist business in Ukraine, and the flow of foreign visitors dropped sharply. But what, in your opinion, happens now? What is the future of Ukraine as a tourist destination for foreigners?
Well, I can’t act as an expert in this matter. But my opinion is always positive: I want to believe that our country has great potential as a tourist treasury of Europe but lot of work has to be done in this respect.
What are the major inconveniences for foreign visitors now and how it can be changed?
There are two main problems: roads and service. The situation changes very slowly. Premium restaurants and hotels appear now and there are the best opportunities for development. And if the service can be influenced, the problem of bad roads still exists.
Do you plan to do articles that will help foreigners to explore Ukraine?
Yes of course. Already now we try to present information in such a way. It should be clear to any person of any nationality: we look at Ukraine with the eyes of a foreigner while loving this country as our homeland.
What advice can you give a foreigner who plans to visit Ukraine for the first time?
-Choose a companion to whom you fully trust so he can take care of everything keeping in mind the peculiarities of mentality
-Pre-book hotel and ask for the written confirmation
-Carefully read the position of any bill and check the sum
-Keep your eyes wide open
-Fall in love with this country
Currently Kyiv, Lviv and Odessa are the main attractive-for-visit cities. Do you expect any changes in this list in the nearest future?
The essence of our project is to find in Ukraine little-known places and to promote them. During two seasons of the project we discovered Kolochava and Ust-Cherny, Chynadiyevo and Nizhnee Selishche, Kidesh and Beregovo. These are small villages and towns but each of them is interesting in its own way. For example, there is an ancient St. Miklosh “castle of love” in Chynadiyevo where the Hungarian national character Ilona Zrinyi had lived many centuries ago.
That woman defended the Palanok castle for 3 years. St. Miklos is considered to be a very powerful place for lovers of all nations and religions. Now it is in the process of reconstruction that is funded by Transcarpathian painter Joseph Bartos.
But not only the Carpathians are full of such amazing places. Chernihiv is a great region with Snovyanka and Sedniv. It is famous with its pine forests, scenic rivers and stunning monuments. There are also very comfortable premium class hotels over there.
Everyone is talking about Bukovel as the European level resort. Is there any alternative and what is the future of the Western Ukraine in this sense?
Podobovets, Volovets, and Slavske resorts will be popular as soon as the problem of bad roads can be resolved. The Western part of Ukraine develops now pretty fast in this sense.
Please give some important tips for a foreigner in Ukraine.
-Respect the country where you go and follow the rules of this country
-Communicate with local people to find out the best dining places and hotels
-Do not start and do not be involved in political discussions
What is your favorite place found in Ukraine?
There are several of them: Volosyanka, Sedniv, Uzhgorod, Biruchiy island, Dzharylgach cape. To be more precise, there are five of them. I can’t choose the one and the only.
What do you like in Kyiv in terms of services for the traveller?
I like "Secretny dvorik” project of Julia Bevzenko. It’s about exploring Kyiv by foot. I dream to get to her excursion.
I just love Kyiv as my hometown, although I was born in Odessa. And every time I find myself on the Dnipro river bridge I realize how beautiful and majestic this city is.
Lala, can you organize a trip for any foreigner taking into account his priorities?
Yes, of course, no problem with this. Please, contact me on the Project Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/findinukraine/timeline
Why is it worth to visit Ukraine it at least once?
Our gorgeous Carpathian Mountains are unique, our people are amazing, and our see is beautiful. It’s all unique.
Interviewed by Anna Vishtak