Is it safe to organize events in Ukraine?

31 Jan

When the conflict around Crimea and Donbas broke out, Ukrainian cities disappeared from the international top travel destinations ratings they had just begun to enter. People around the world rely on media coverage and in case of the present day Ukraine it is hardly attractive: war, blood, violence, suffering.

But does it mean the entire country is engulfed in flames? Hardly so. Yes, terror attacks may threaten major cities — just as much as London, New York, Mumbai, Cairo or Paris. We have prepared an infographic based on our expertise, internal sources estimation and 11-year experience in business travel and MICE sector in Ukraine. Share it with your friends, show it to someone who has been hesitating whether to go or not to Lviv or Kyiv. And, of course, our expert managers are always here, ready to help you with consultation or assistance.

Three regions are to avoid unless you are a reporter seeking a hot story: Crimea, Donetsk and Luhansk regions. Once a popular event destination, Crimea has become no man’s land since its annexation by Russia. Border control is murky; no one will be responsible for your personal security on the peninsula. Personal rights and liberties are oppressed. Mastercard, Visa, Paypal all do not work.

Donbas is practically a warzone. Donetsk no longer is a rich megapolis but an occupied city controlled by thugs. Its airport, once brand new and proudly inuagurated for Euro 2012, was destroyed in fighting.

The capital of Western Ukraine, Lviv is in 1200 km away from Donetsk and the conflict. It is absolutely calm and safe. The city boasts not just a much praised medieval and baroque charm, but a good tourist infrastructure and impoving transport. With its fancy restaurants and themed cafes, it is an excellent and safe destination for travel and events targeting Central and Eastern Europe.

Ever since the bloodshed that capped Ukrainian Revolution of Dignity in February 2014, Kyiv — the capital of Ukraine — has been a largely safe city. Even at the height of the protests, there was little to no disruption of everyday life beyond the governmental area. Today everything is very calm and normal. Kyiv offers a variety of food and housing options, from middle range to upscale. With its modern infrastracture, the city is the main political and business hub in the country. A great and safe location for all kinds of events and trips.

Located in the North-East, Kharkiv has been a major center for technology, industry and human resources. These days it also serves as a logistical center for the Ukrainian army. There have been some minor acts of disobedience recently and several bomb attacks that left few wounded. It might be advisable to refrain from hosting major events, potential terrorist targets, unless they have a direct relation to the region. But personal travel is likely as safe as it used to be 1-2 years ago.

Dnipropetrovsk is an industrial city and home to Ukraine’s largest bank’s head office. A business center comparable to Kharkiv, it is also a major seat of political power and military strength. Due to its closeness to the warzone, it might be seen as slightly more risky than Kyiv or Lviv. Still, it is largely as safe as most big cities in the world.

Odesa is a large Black Sea port and a business center. Its beaches are a good alternative to the Crimean ones. Having seen some unrest a year ago and several explosions in the recent months, it is generally rather safe for both smaller events and personal travel, just as Dnipropetrovsk and perhaps a bit more than Kharkiv.

So welcome to Ukraine! It is defending itself from Russian invasion but the war does not take place on all its territory. And Ukrainians are as hospital and careful hosts as always, and these days even more so perhaps.