14-17 April, 1999 Sports Palace, Kyiv, Ukraine
Ukraine International Travel & Tourism'99 (UITT'99) Exhibition has been an unqualified success. Even the organizers have been amazed. Cooperation has brought its fruit.
The organizers were the founders of the two previous tourist fairs in Ukraine. One of them, Ukraine: Tour & Leisure (UTL) was traditionally held in spring before the opening of the tourist season. These fairs - of which there were five - were arranged by the Mizhnarodny Turizm (International Tourism) magazine and the Mizhnarodna Osvita (International Education) Fund, with the Derzhkomturizm (State Committee for Tourism) and Kyiv City Administration assisting. International Trade Exhibitions (ITE), a British company, well known for running MITT, one of the most prestigious tourist exhibitions in the world, decided to get into the Ukrainian tourist market with its own exhibition Travel Ukraine last year. This year ITE and UTL united forces to set up a new exhibition, UITT'99.
What has been achieved as a result? A wide experience in running international exhibitions, establishment of world-wide connections, plus knowledge of the Ukrainian market and trusting attitudes of Ukrainian tourist companies. No wonder UITT'99 brought to the Kyiv Palace of Sports, the venue of the exhibition, practically all the leading tourist companies and agencies of Ukraine, and many foreigners who take an interest in promoting tourism to and from Ukraine.
Resources to be used
Ivan Kyrylenko, head of the Youth, Physical Culture and Sports Committee at the Verkhovna Rada, compared this exhibition to a tourist Everest. It's a long climb yet, but the very scale of UITT'99 was impressive enough to make it an ample foundation for significant achievements in the future. Other high officials, Valeriy Smoliy, vice prime-minister of Ukraine and Valeriy Tsybukh, head of the Derzhkomturizm among them, spoke of a growing importance of developing tourism and called the tourist industry "a top priority" in the economic structure of Ukraine.
Boyan Manev, regional director of the World Federation of Tourist Agencies in Eastern Europe assessed very highly the tourist potential of Ukraine. Mohamed Abosalem, who represented Arab countries, was of the same opinion. Representatives of numerous foreign delegations praised the natural beauty of Ukraine and expressed confidence in speedy development of tourist business in this country.

At the opening of Ukraine International Travel & Tourism'99 Exhibition.
The current economic slump place has hit Ukrainian tourist companies badly but they have gained in the last few years a lot of experience and are full of hope for a better future. Their stands at UITT'99 were colourful, they offered a wide choice of tours, they organized tourist lotteries, they smiled open, natural, not forced smiles. The atmosphere was truly festive.
A conspicuous place at the exhibition was taken by the Crimean tourist companies. Their representatives complained though that they might have been doing much better if not excessive taxes. According to Maryna Slesareva, deputy minister of tourism of the Crimea, this summer tourist season promised to be rather encouraging.
The participation of major Ukrainian labour union organizations connected with tourism in UITT''99 brought an additional note of optimism and promoted hope that the tourist industry was, despite everything, on the rise. Ukraine, among the European countries, has the greatest amount of resources for providing excellent rest and health treatment, and these resources are only waiting to be used - concluded one of the foreign guests at UITT'99.
Participation
UITT'99 organizers must be given credit for bringing together a great number of participants. Over 500 Ukrainian tourist companies, agencies and related organizations and over 200 foreign companies, representing 41 countries, took part in UITT'99. About 3,000 people directly involved in the tourist business, and untold numbers of laymen and the curious visited the exhibition. About 15,500 potential tourists turned up.
Festive atmosphere and prizes
The festive atmosphere was felt even at the purely business meetings, presentations and seminars. The Ukrainian Tourist Company Intourist celebrated its 70th anniversary at UITT'99, contributing ti the cheerful enthusiasm of the exhibition.
In keeping with a tradition, various prizes were awarded.

The Great and the Big of Ukrainian tourist business.

Golden 5 City Hotel, Egypt,, permanent participant of UITT tourist fair
The Scythian Wheel, grand prix for development of tourism, went to the Dnipro Hotel Complex in Kyiv, with other prizes going to the Olymp Travel Ltd., Ministry of Trade and Tourism of Bulgarie, Ministres of Tourism of Israel and Italy, SAM tourist company and Austrian Airlines, to name just a few.
Impressions
Following are some of the comments made by participants and guests of UITT'99.
Lyudmyla Luhanova, Dnipro Hotel Complex director:
"I believe this particular exhibition has been very effective for our hotel. We've had an excellent chance of showing what we can offer, we have established determine the directions of further development. An international exhibition in Kyiv of this sort a great boon to us!"
Glorgio Nocchi, director of National Board of Tourism, Italy:
"Our stand at the exhibition has turned out to be the biggest - 140 square meters of floor space!
We have exhibited materials promoting the areas of Liguria and Rovenna, and six big Italian tour operators. There's definitely a growing interest in Italy in the Ukrainian tourist market, and we feel that Ukrainian tourist companies are interested in business contacts with Italian ones. Hopefully, it will bring fruitful results."
Oleh Ostapenko, general director of the Ukrkurortservice Company:
"UITT'99 has amply demonstrated a great importance of this kind of exhibition for promoting tourism. We have seen how important it is to have good advertisement. Ukraine has excellent health improvement resources and our prices are way below the prices in the West. We see a lot of opportunities here."
Dana Ostrovska, an attache of the Israeli Embassy in Ukraine:
"Our stand has represented 7 Israeli tour operators. I think there would have been more if not for the rumours circulating in Israel about the crisis that started in Russia and has affected Ukraine very badly. The number of tourists from Ukraine coming to Israel grew by 10 percent each year but last year there was a decrease instead of growth. It explains a cautions attitude of some of our tour operators. But we are greatly satisfied with UITT'99."
Tetyana Voloshyna, director of the Olymp Travel Ltd., Kyiv:
"I've been greatly impressed by the scale of the exhibition and by the number of participants and guests. I think it's the best exhibition of such kind ever held in Ukraine. I have to mention though, that one can regret the absence of major Ukrainian tourist companies dealing with incoming foreign tourism. Probably, some of the reasons for that lie in the difficult economic and political situation Ukraine is in. But despite of everything, one can see that tourism in general is the in Ukraine."

Kimberly Zieger, representative of the European Association of Tourist and Trade Exhibitions (ETTFA):
"I've come here on a fact-finding mission, to see whether UITT could join our association. I've been very positively impressed with what I've seen. UITT'99 fully meets the international standards. I'm confident that my colleagues will be support my bid to let UITT join ETTFA. The final decision will be taken in June. I'd like to express me thanks to Olymp Travel Ltd. for the beautiful sightseeing tour around Kyiv they've given me. I'm fascinated with Kyiv and I'll do my best to promote tourism to your country!"
The next UITT exhibition will take place in the year 2000. Most of the participants of UITT'99 have already confirmed their intention to take part in the next year's event. It is planned for April 4-7, 2000. If you want to take part in it, you are most welcome. But you should declare your intention to do so beforehand. All inquires at the Welcome to Ukraine magazine office:

7 Klovsky Uzviz, Kyiv, 252021, Ukraine
Tel./fax: 380 (44) 573-9625; tel.: 291-4712

By Yevhen Bud'ko. Photos by Ivan Dudkin