Mariana Oleskiv told the O-CITY forum that, despite the invasion, she is working to “develop Ukraine’s tourism industry”.
The president of the State Agency for Tourism Development, Mariana Oleskiv, and the former Minister of Economic Development and Trade of Ukraine, Pavlo Kukhta, visited the Gandia Campus of the Polytechnic University of Valencia (UPV) on 16 January, as part of the conference “O-CITY Innovation for the development of territories“, an initiative promoted by the UPV and sponsored by the Provincial Council of Valencia.
The visit to the UPV university campus was included in the institutional agenda of the Ukrainian delegation on the occasion of its participation in the International Tourism Fair (FITUR). At the fair, Ukraine had its own stand – provided by the organisers of FITUR – to give visibility to the country’s current situation.
We interviewed Ms. Oleskiv to get her impressions on Ukraine’s participation in O-CITY and FITUR.
It is a very important support for us now, both O-CITY and FITUR, because they understand that from war we have to move to talk and share and then move on to action.
- What attractions did tourism in Ukraine offer in the recent past, and what can we expect for the future?
The most important and popular for the tourist is Odessa, for the TV series and movies, with good connections with the capital Kyiv, for its riches and culture that UNESCO reconized as a world heritage. The city has a beatiful seeseige, lot of beatiful atractions.
Otherwise, people is traveling to Chernobyl, visiting the central after a HBO serie.
We also plan to work with other destinations after the war. Unfortunately, we have to offer other destinations to see what the war is destroying and how artists like Bansky denounce the horror through their graffiti on the outskirts of Kiev, or what is left of the Bucha massacre that other artists are trying to portray. In my opinion, it is another kind of tourism that decides to see these kinds of situations and we need to prepare them. We need to tell the story to the new generations, for the future, for everybody, to teach them what Russia is, what the empire has done against human rights in this war. In the future we will surely be able to highlight the beauty of our Ukrainian destinations.
- How do you interpret the reception that Ukraine is receiving in Spain, through the FITUR fair and the O-CITY platform?
Yes, it is a very important support for us now, both O-CITY and FITUR, because they understand that from war we have to move to talk and share and then move on to action.
Now it seems that we are far away, but we have to act and discuss more about the future.
And to show the Ukrainian destinations at the international fair is very important for the future, and we need the support for the moment of recovery.
- Given the current circumstances, do you consider it necessary to preserve the country’s cultural and natural heritage in the digital world?
Yes, it is very important because part of the heritage we know can be lost. The Russian strategy is based on terror, it’s not fighting on the front line, they want to kill us.
Unfortunately, we can’t help to preserve and digitise that heritage. It is very important to preserve what it looked like, and when we rebuild we need to see what was there in order to reconstruct it in detail. Digitising the memory is very important, especially to decide and close this cycle.
The attendance of the President of the State Agency for Tourism Development, Mariana Oleskiv, was made possible thanks to the “Meet Ukraine” programme, developed and managed by Tourism and Society Think Tank – TSTT, with the collaboration of the Polytechnic University of Valencia with its flagship project O-CITY.org, the Dresden University of Applied Sciences (Germany), the technical assistance and sponsorship of Wanderlust Global Life, Global Journey Consulting, the Global Shopping Tourism Network and LatamOne.
INNOVATION FOR TERRITORIAL DEVELOPMENT
The O-CITY cultural and natural heritage platform makes it possible to digitise tourist information about any place, offering multimedia information and virtual tours. A platform open to citizen participation in which anyone can generate content about any place in the world.
O-CITY is currently collaborating with the Government of Ukraine to position all the country’s cultural and natural heritage in the digital atlas.