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European Travel Commission extends complimentary membership to Ukraine’s tourism agency

European Travel Commission extends complimentary membership to Ukraine’s tourism agency

Today, the European Travel Commission (ETC) reached a decision to invite the State Agency for Tourism Development of Ukraine (SATD) to join the organisation with a complimentary three-year membership. The decision was taken during the 103rd General Meeting that is taking place on 18-20 May in Ljubljana, hosted by the Slovenian Tourist Board. This meeting brought together CEOs of national tourism authorities (NTOs) from across Europe and ETC associate members from private industry. Mariana Oleskiv, Chairperson of SATD, joined the General Meeting remotely as an honorary guest.

The State Agency for Tourism Development of Ukraine typically works to promote and popularise Ukrainian tourism in domestic and foreign markets. However, since February, SATD’s work programme has been drastically altered by the conflict. Mariana Oleskiv shared first hand insights into the devastating impact of the ongoing war on Ukraine’s travel sector. SATD currently provides information about the ongoing situation in Ukraine, coordinates efforts of the Ukrainian tourism community in organising evacuations and temporary shelters as well as job opportunities for the industry professionals in safe regions.

During the General Meeting, ETC expressed its solidarity with Ukraine. In a show of support, its national members voted in agreement to extend complimentary ETC membership to SATD. The membership is offered free of charge for at least three years, depending on the geopolitical circumstances, with a vision to welcome Ukraine to the organisation on a permanent basis. This commitment will see ETC support the Ukrainian tourism agency by providing access to all its resources and research data. It is hoped that through this membership SATD will be better placed to help strategise for the recovery of the Ukrainian travel sector once the war ends.

Supporting Ukraine’s tourism is also in line with ETC’s ongoing mission to strengthen and promote Europe as a destination in foreign markets and build the value of tourism for European destinations through cooperation. This is important given the impact the conflict is already having on European countries that neighbour Ukraine and Russia, as well as those European destinations reliant on tourists visiting from both regions.

Commenting on the decision Luís Araújo, ETC’s President, said: “The European Travel Commission remains steadfast in its condemnation of Russia’s military invasion of Ukraine. The founding principle of ETC is to promote travel as a catalyst for peace, understanding and respect. Extending complimentary membership to the State Agency for Tourism Development of Ukraine is an act of solidarity and ETC will do its utmost to support its Ukrainian colleagues. We firmly believe that tourism is an instrument of peace, and we stand by Ukraine to help rebuild its travel sector once the situation allows.”

Mariana Oleskiv, Chairperson of SATD, also welcomed the decision, stating: “The State Agency for Tourism Development of Ukraine is delighted to accept this invitation and join the European Travel Commission. In these horrible times, when our country and industry are under attack, it is heartening to receive such strong support from our partners all across Europe. Ukraine belongs to the European family, and we look forward to working together with ETC. We will restore Ukraine’s travel and tourism and make it better together!”