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UITT, the biggest travel market in Ukraine
The International Exhibition UITT—2009 was held in Kyiv in the spring of 2009. UITT exhibitions have been held in Kyiv for fifteen years now, but this year’s exhibition is somewhat different from the previous ones simply by the fact that in the year 2009 many countries of the world, Ukraine included, have been hit by the economic crisis.
However, UITT–2009, which was organized by the companies Premier Expo from Ukraine and ITE Group Plc from Britain, has proven to be the herald of some positive signs in the tourist business. Mladen Falconi, Director of the Croatian National Tourist Office in Russia and CIS countries, said that this exhibition “has given him a lot of optimism.” In comparison with the MITT exhibition recently held in Moscow, the UITT in Kyiv showed more business activity, a stronger desire to work harder and establish more extensive relations with partners.
According to many representatives of the tourist companies that took part in the exhibition, the only way out of a difficult situation the tourist business has found itself in, is “to mobilize the resources” and “to strengthen determination and unity of purpose.”
The UITT exhibition was held at the International Exhibition Center in Kyiv, and the exhibition stands did not seem to look more modest than they did last year, crisis or no crisis. Walking through the exhibition, one seemed to be transported to fairy tales castles, lush gardens or fancy concert stages. “Live sculptures”, national dances and other attractions were as luring as ever. The crowds near the stands did not seem to be any smaller than in the previous years either.
The Turkish representatives created a sort of “the main street” in the exhibition pavilion.
There were new records set as to the number of participants or visitors. In fact, compared to the last year’s 14,200 sq meters of floor space occupied by the UITT exhibition, this year the floor space shrank to 12,500 sq meters, and instead of 892 participants from 58 countries there were 550 participants from 49 countries. It was said that it was the least reliable and least determinate that had dropped out.
At the same time and at the same place other functions were held — the international MICE Ukraine Business Tourism-Ukraine Conference; Hotel & Restaurant Expo UkraineÐ2009 Equipment and Technologies for Hotels and Restaurants Exhibition; Cleanexpo UkraineÐ2009 Specialized Professional Cleaning Equipment Exhibition, and Brand4Rent Ñ Franchising and Other Business Possibilities Forum.
There were 24 countries that presented the stands in a particularly lavish manner, about the same number as usual. Dubai stand was the focal point of the exhibition. The number of “exotic” tourist destinations for Ukraine has grown. Lebanon and Indonesia were represented at the UITT–2009 Exhibition for the first time. “Medical tourism” to Ukraine and other countries was the new type of tourism promoted at UITT–2009.
Over 150 tour operators from Ukraine offered their “tourist products,” with the Crimea, Kyivshchyna and some other parts of Ukraine being among the leaders.
UITT–2009 awarded the most active and permanent participants of the UITT exhibitions with special prizes; among the awardees were Pegas Touristik, ENIT, Ellis, delegations from Dubai, Turkey, Bulgaria, Greece and Lebanon, the Crimean Stand, the City Hall of Kyiv, and the National Tourist Office of Ukraine.
Some experts expressed their predictions for the tourist season of 2009 under the conditions of a wide-spread financial and economic crisis. According to them, the possible tendencies will be as follows: tourists will tend to choose less expensive tours, in particular within the framework of discount proposals; home tourism will be preferred to going abroad; the time between the decision to travel and the actual start of the tourist trip will shorten; booking will be postponed until the last minute; medical tourism, in particular some specialized forms of it, will remain at the last year’s level — health problems cannot be postponed; Ukrainian tourists, in view of the devaluation of the national currency hryvnya, will prefer to travel in Ukraine, and incoming tourists will have some financial advantages.
Anyway, there are encouraging signs that the tourist business will not be hit too hard and that tourists will continue to travel far and wide.
By Yevhen BUDKO
Photos by Ivan DUDKIN;
some photos have been provided
by the organizers of the UITT–2009 Exhibition