Several resort towns of the region held grand openings of the tourist season. For instance, Skadovsk saw a carnival procession, a dance flash mob, a concert featuring local performing groups, and more. Skadovsk is traditionally regarded a center for children’s and family holidays, as the Black Sea is shallow there, and the town boasts dozens of treatment and recovery facilities. In addition, it has been listed as a resort of national importance since 2011.
The Falz-Fein Biosphere Reserve Askania Nova, noted as one of the seven natural wonders of Ukraine, has opened its doors to visitors, too. The National Natural Park Oleshky Sands also held grand opening of the 2014 tourist season. Today, the park is a unique desert in the south of Ukraine, which is called one of the largest in Europe. The park also organizes tours for visitors, conducted by guides with scientific qualifications.
Similar events marking the opening of the season were held in Henichesk, Beryslav and other raions. During a visit there, chairman of the Kherson Oblast State Administration (KOSA) Yurii Odarchenko said that “Kherson region’s recreational sector will have a lot of space for development this year,” and they plan “to admit about 800,000 visitors this season, as all conditions for it have been created.”
“Given the socio-political situation around Crimea, the regional administration and the public understand that this situation, unpleasant as it is, has provided Kherson region with a great chance to develop its tourism industry. Today we need to redirect a significant number of tourists who had previously rested on the Crimean coast to the Kherson coast,” deputy head of the KOSA’s department of tourism and resorts Serhii Shkarupa told The Day. “Speaking of family trips, we have 49 recreation facilities which can admit up to 500,000 visitors a year. Summer camp Avrora in Skadovsk raion can be transformed into another Artek, albeit with its own unique features. We also have more than 200 kilometers of beaches on offer for adults, situated on the Arabat Spit as well as the Black Sea coast in Skadovsk and Hola Prystan raions. Given nearly 300 lodges and resorts and over 400 small hotels and individual accommodation facilities available in towns such as Bilshovyk, Lazurne, Kruhloozerka, Zalizny Port, Henhirka, Shchaslyvtsevo, and Strilkove, we believe that many visitors will be able to choose the most acceptable option from these offers.
“In addition to well-known recreation centers, Kherson residents have created a decent network of ‘green’ tourism facilities. That is, everyone who arrives on the coast will have the opportunity to visit historical entertainment venues. For example, the Green Hamlets of Tavria had about 40,000 visitors in 2013. There are facilities for organized recreation on the Dnipro River, including fishing, hunting, yacht tours and more. All of it comes at reasonable prices, as we target the average Ukrainian visitor. Thus, we have an understanding with owners of tourist and entertainment facilities that they will keep prices of their services the same as last year, except for food. People understand well that they need to ‘sell’ themselves now, to build interest in first-time visitors, so that they would then come back.”
According to Shkarupa, the administration is currently continuously monitoring foreign tourists’ interest in spending vacation in Kherson region. Unfortunately, they had to note a 20 percent decrease in places booked by Belarusians and Russians in the region’s lodges. This is a result of the volatile situation in the east of the country, the official believes. However, the authorities guarantee complete security for all the Ukrainian and foreign visitors willing to come to Kherson resorts. “The army is doing its duty but is not hindering in the slightest normal functioning of resort areas or farms,” Shkarupa noted. “Kherson gladly accepts anyone who wants to have a good vacation or weekend. To completely dispel various rumors, we will have a tourism industry congress in Nova Kakhovka on May 16-17, targeting Ukrainian tour operators. Please note – we are seeking out businesspeople, not bureaucrats.”