KyivPost

Tourism, travel in slow lane

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April 1, 2009, 11:08 p.m. | Ukraine — by Yuliya Popova
Despite hryvnia’s fall, no visitor boom in sight. In a blitz television promotion on CNN, a bird’s eye view of Ukrainian landscapes made for stunningly beautiful images of the nation. Had the camera zoomed in closer, however, one would see dilapidated castle walls, polluted forests and outdated infrastructure.

The financially strapped tourism industry is proving to be a bit of a hard sell. Russians can find their way around easily. Sex tourists and pedophiles also seem to feel at home in Ukraine.

But while the lower-valued hryvnia might stimulate an influx of all kinds of travel, tourists still face the same old problems: Bad or over-priced service and little help navigating the nation. A visitor needs a good handle on the Russian or Ukrainian languages as well.

The State Tourism Committee audaciously cites the ever-rising influx of foreign visitors to Ukraine each coming year as evidence that a tourism boom is under way.

In 2008, their number was 25 million, up two million from the year before, with Russians leading the way. Given the historic ties and imperfection in methods of gathering statistics, many Russian “tourists” may actually be in Ukraine on business or visiting relatives.

“Confidence in Ukraine is growing,” said tourism committee chief Anatoliy Pahlya. His assurance, however, is at odds with the prevalent international posture that Ukraine is a nation perpetually on the brink of disaster.

Pahlya said the tourism industry would struggle through the crisis with the government-promotion budget cut tenfold, to Hr 2.5 million, in 2009. Apart from salaries, the scarce funds will be used to create more tourist centers and organize tourist routes. A must-have in any country, information centers are in short supply in Ukraine. There are only 48 of them in the nation of 46 million people.

The only easy-to-find tourism bureau in the capital is snug inside the Ukrainian House at one end of Khreschatyk Street. Run independently from the state, it occupies a small kiosk with dozens of books on Ukraine in different languages. “Ten years ago we didn’t even have maps or guide books,” said Yanina Gavrylova, head of the center. “Now the problem is with finding premises. The city [council] doesn’t give us anything.”

Instead, the Kyiv city administration announced that it launched a 24-hour English-speaking hotline “to help our international guests with any situation,” according to its promotional flyer. Those stuck in the lift or unable to read street signs in Cyrillic are invited to use the service for Hr 9.90 per minute. However, when the Kyiv Post rang the number, an operator could barely answer a question “do you speak English?” with a short “no, you do.” The mayor’s hotline in Ukrainian language said they were unaware of an English-language service.

The Ukrainian House bureau, on the other hand, provides culture tips, traveling advice and route calculations in three different languages for free. However, when a tourist arrives in Boryspil airport, he or she will not find their ad in free city guides as those are peppered with ads of seductive masseurs and sexy escorts. Museums and scenic walks, in comparison to a female flowerbed blooming all year round, must be a hard sell.

David Hall, an antiques and fine art dealer from England, discovered all that and more back in 2006 when he visited Ukraine for the first time. “The hotel was well up to international standards but I found it slightly odd that a receptionist felt she should tell me where the strip clubs were,” he recalled. “And the guy at the door asked if I needed any extra company.”

Brett Ousley, owner of the marriage agency Kiev Connections, is not surprised with the trend. “As a percentage of the men that are coming here, I believe there are substantial numbers of men who are inappropriate and are here only for the women.” In the last few years, Ousley noticed that men who “you would want your sister to marry” got tired of being scammed by local women and stopped coming. He blames unstable politics, economy and low moral fiber for growing sex tourism. “Ukraine reminds me of the Titanic. It’s ripped absolutely open on the side and the ship is going down but nobody knows it here. They are deaf and no one’s getting into the lifeboats. I really don’t understand it.”

Pahlya from the State Tourism Committee said that “discussions about it [sex tourism] are being held. But how to eradicate a biological need which existed for centuries?” he asked.

While the tourists are by all means welcome to Ukraine through visa-free entry for Europeans, and North Americans introduced in 2005, they are in for an experience, which may prove more authentic than they actually want. Visiting Ukraine for four years now, antiques collector Hall has found that not many things have changed, except that he now notices more potholes on the roads. “The museums, when one has found them, have interesting collections if somewhat old-fashioned in their display and the buildings somewhat neglected with buckets around for the leaks,” he said. “However, it also adds charm to the tour.”

Ousley, who has been living here since 2001, thinks that Ukraine is doing everything it can to keep tourists from coming back.

“You steal, lie and cheat tourists. You treat them like garbage. Take wallet drop scams – it happened to many of my clients more than three times in a day. If it’s happening so often, the police don’t care. At night, when my clients are walking back to their apartment, romantic with a nice girl, police stop them and hassle them for $100 and say they are going to take them to jail.”

Aware of these shortcomings, the state tourism service said they are working day and night to improve Ukraine’s image abroad. Meanwhile, the “Beautifully Yours” campaign on the CNN commercial may realistically have more to do with a particular type of Ukrainian women than sightseeing gems and a hearty welcome.
The Kyiv Post is hosting comments to foster lively debate. Criticism is fine, but stick to the issues. Comments that include profanity or personal attacks will be removed from the site. If you think that a posted comment violates these standards, please flag it and alert us. We will take steps to block violators.
Anonymous April 1, 2009, 11:54 p.m.    

Be honest - what is interesting in the Ukraine ?

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Anonymous April 2, 2009, 3:42 a.m.    

Sounds like a comment from a Yankee who got taken for his money by a nice Ukrainian girl.

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Anonymous April 2, 2009, 4:46 a.m.    

Not really. Sounds like a person that knows the truth. Nothing is interesting and there are alot of nicer places to visit for the same money.

Really why would someone visit ? Most of the population has herpes, hepatitis, tuberculosis or worst. Do not forget to get all vaccinations before you go.

Check out the WHO and CDC websites before you go.

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Anonymous April 2, 2009, 5:16 a.m.    

Yes! The American Blacks are killing the police! Definitely stay out of America. Do not go to the US.

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Anonymous April 2, 2009, 7:18 a.m.    

Except Lviv, or part of Kiev, what you should visit as foreigner? Maybe a bit Odessa?

But as we can see, the also interesting states in Eastern Europe, which surley have to provide interesting landscape, culture etc., will never have the same attraction for tourism as Western countries, due to their old tradition and so on..

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Anonymous April 2, 2009, 9:17 a.m.    

ound like the opinion of some one who has traveled

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Anonymous April 17, 2009, 9:57 a.m.    

Lots of sex. honestly, i think ukraine should build up its sex industry and tie it in with everything and be the world center of sex/glamour/casinos (fun). don't underestimate the sex thinking male who is willing to spend $$$ for it

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Anonymous April 2, 2009, 12:21 a.m.    

prostitutes still request dollars and the same prices, apartements still in dollars and high prices. So why I should come?

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Anonymous April 2, 2009, 12:51 a.m.    

trange! I have been visiting Ukraine a few times a year for 5 years. I don't speak Russian but I have now good friends there. I have never been proposed sex during all my stays, maybe because i never showed I wanted to get some. I have seen a lot f change during these years, mainly in Kiev where you can now find a lot of nice place for getting a drink, even if the service is very bad when you stay on Kretchatik. I have never got police controls (that's not the case in Moscow!), and never felt myself unsecured. There is still a lot of progress to do mainly in infrastructure and for finding a trustful travel agency. When you have found one, you will enjoy your stay and excursions and not pay so high price if you accept not to be as a Westerner wanting to get western standards of confort. And it's the main part of the Ukraine charm to make you discover a unaseptized way to disover a country!

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Anonymous April 2, 2009, 2 a.m.    

I hate to tell you, but in every major world capital, including Washington, DC, there are hundreds of prostitutes or "escorts" available to any tourist, not to mention the dozens of strip clubs. Go to New York or Las Vegas if you think Ukraine is bad in this regard. There's really no reason to think Ukraine is any better or worse than every other world capital. As for tourism, the fact that the entire country is spending the equivalent of $300,000 to promote tourism is pitiful. Don't expect any increase in tourism this year, despite the fact that an American tourist can spend less than half what they did last year, and receive the same level of services.

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Anonymous April 2, 2009, 6:33 a.m.    

Interesting comments from this Ousley character...who has made a living in Ukraine by promising the unrealsitic "beauty and the beast" phenomenon in his marriage agency...Ukrainian women to overweight, geriatric, usophisticated, uncultured truck drivers.

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Anonymous April 2, 2009, 6:33 a.m.    

Ukraine is like the Titanic. The only difference is the Titanic had a band.

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Anonymous April 2, 2009, 7:19 a.m.    

Sex-tourism could be branche where Ukraine should take more efforts to become even more attractive.

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Anonymous April 2, 2009, 8:09 a.m.    

I work and therefore live in Kyiv, and have traveled several places in Ukraine. It's a pretty decrepit country. I would never travel on vacation or holidays to Ukraine. There are simply too many better places to go. Ukrainians are okay, even though I occasionally (probably too often) run into a jackass. But I'm from Michigan, so I run into jackasses there all the time. Ukrainians should be a little more humble, though, because in reality they have nothing to brag about.

I think what Ukraine should really do is promote sort of historical tours, namely WWII tours. There is a lot of that here. Or they can promote tours of the fathom.

In any case, I don't thing people in Europe are saying "let's go to Kyiv for a long weekend!" like they do about Prague, Amsterdam, Istanbul, Krakow or Warsaw, Rome, Paris, etc. I assume that people would rather drop $2,000 somewhere else for a good time.

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Anonymous April 2, 2009, 8:11 a.m.    

Sorry, it;s really early in the morning. I meant famine and not fathom!

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Anonymous April 2, 2009, 9:15 a.m.    

The problem is that most Ukrainians overestimate all things Ukrainian. Most of this is due to them not knowing any better. I wish I had a euro for each time one my neighbors harps on about how much nicer Crimea is than Hawaii. Of course, they have never been to Hawaii, so they don't realize that Crimea is about on par with the dumpy parts of Spain, without the good food and service. My middle class Ukrainian friends, however, would never dream of going to Crimea, as they can have the same-priced holiday in Antalya, Turkey.

Ukrainian service sucks, the country is decrepit and dirty, the food is awful, and the prices are on par with Prague, Istanbul, and Budapest. Who can sell that?

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Anonymous April 2, 2009, 10:11 a.m.    

I have found Ukraine to be not as bad as many portray it. Having visited both east and west, to be honest I find western Ukraine more appealing in terms of architecture, landscape and attitude towards tourists. Kyiv though is a nigtmare, Paul Mason from the BBC in his blog on a very recent trip to Kyiv equates the capital to a third world country - not a flattering endorsement of Kyiv. Fortunately Kyiv does not represent the rest of Ukraine even though it should. I think it is important to remember Ukrainians are still living with the legacy of Russian communism and old habits die hard, so if tourists bear that in mind they will find Ukraine a good place to visit despite its shortcomings, I have no doubt Ukraine will come good ... in time.

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Anonymous April 2, 2009, 1:31 p.m.    

I happen to agree to a certain extent - all the postings here. But I think this posting above is the most accurate. Once there is leadership in Ukraine; once there is more access to other cultures (not MTV rap artists); once there is an open travel agreement with Ukraine; etc. etc. then I beleive Ukrainians will have more of an open mind and consequently visitors will feel more appreciated as well.

I have faith in Ukraine and its' people. They are going through similar times that most of us have been through already in our history. Patience..patience.... but I can understand how the local Ukrainians won't see the kinds of changes they want in thier own lifetimes. I understand why many women in Ukraine want the best for thier children - in other countries! Most Ukrainian women are sincere, loyal and loving from my experiences. Going to Ukraine to find prostitutes is really too bad since there are so many ladies that are genuine and want to meet you too!

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Anonymous April 2, 2009, 10:37 a.m.    

Crimea is season is still a wonderful place in the summer.. How a tourist behaves is subjective. Good food can be had if one is particular to eating at the right place. Ukraine overall is still drifting from its old relations with Russia but people here do smile more often and are more upbeat about life. Its not all doom and gloom. Ukrainians have had to put up with alot. I'd give them a chance about the future. they deserve it.

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Anonymous April 2, 2009, 12:36 p.m.    

Crimea is the world's mekka for sex.

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Anonymous April 2, 2009, 12:08 p.m.    

I have to say that I have studied in Ukraine at the most prestigious Institute of International Relations for four years.As a foreigner I was shocked by the attitude of my colleagues and professors at the University towards foreigners let alone by random passers on the Kiev's streets!!Very impolite people are!And if someone tells me that Ukrainians are very warm, open and generous I can not believe that because I experienced myself opposite while living there.But I guess the communism regime destroyed their good will and intentions towards foreigners.Majority don't even try to understand foreigners.There are few exceptions of course, but only few, usually those Ukrainians who lived abroad.I know that the economic situation is bad in Ukraine but in my country it is not better but my nation never lost human characteristics and smile.That is why my country attracts so many real tourists, not sex tourists...that does not even exists in my country which was so many years suffering from war

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Anonymous April 2, 2009, 12:35 p.m.    

Are you Black?

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Anonymous April 2, 2009, 12:35 p.m.    

Ukrainians hate blacks, chinese and other asians.

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Anonymous April 2, 2009, 12:50 p.m.    

nope :))

What is the best I am Slavic too but generally Ukrainians are so impolite towards any nation, race!They are so incurious about knowing more about other cultures...The worst of all the people I saw every day at the University for 5 yrs studied International Relations!! They cared only about money, brands, good chicks,luxurious clothes and cars.That's says a lot about the future and present Ukrainian 'elite'...

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Anonymous April 2, 2009, 12:28 p.m.    

Are you crazy. Who would come and visit this corrupt country. We don;t want to pay our dollars to corrupt Yushenko and its militia...They simply harass foreigners..

But old european men forsure like to visit Ukraine for cheap sex with young wores

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Anonymous April 2, 2009, 12:34 p.m.    

I must say that apartement prices, if you look in internet, are still high (about 100$ a night)

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Anonymous April 2, 2009, 12:34 p.m.    

Prostitutes are expensive also

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Anonymous April 2, 2009, 1:20 p.m.    

Ukraine is a beautiful country. I go once a year, and find the people hospitable (and beautiful), the food very good, often exeptional, and the shopping great. If you're a creep just looking for women, you're still a creep. I've walked late at night and never felt unsafe (Kyiv and Lviv). The history and archictecture are amazing, you just need to learn a bit about this beforehand. And as for "tours of the fathom/famine" -- there is no place to tour. The new Holodomor museum in Kyiv , once it is finished, will be an "attraction", a sad one. The Holodomor must be promoted as a Ukrainian tragedy, but it's not to be commercialized. Maybe the first time you go as a tourist, go through an agency or a reputable guide and driver. The country is amazing.

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Anonymous April 2, 2009, 1:25 p.m.    

hospitable ?!!?!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!the food very good????????? the shopping great!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I don't agree at all!!!!!!! Those above mentioned SUX- poor quality and overpriced...and concerning people...hospitable only in villages but in Kiev certainly not!!

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Anonymous April 2, 2009, 2:25 p.m.    

I have met many foreigners in Ukraine, and they really fall into two categories regarding their views about Ukraine: foreigners who live here for any length of time hate the place; the middle-aged, potbellied, socks and sandals crowd chasing the pure traditional love of blushing "virgins" always seems to think the place is great. It seems the more they explain the beauty of Ukrainian architecture (crumbling facades), hospitality (great if you are a close friend ONLY), or how wonderful the scenery is (every square meter of this place looks like a landfill exploded), the less pathetic/exploitative their trip seems.

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Anonymous April 2, 2009, 2:32 p.m.    

I think that for the most part, you get what you expect, like everywhere else. I am from Florida and I have business in Ukraine, so I visit every 3 months, some 23 times already. I approach everyone politely and with a smile. Close to 100% of the times I manage to extract a smile back and polite service. I guess if you go fearing/expecting/anticipating rudeness, that is what you get. This is not unique to Ukraine. As for prostitutes, they are not exclusive to Ukraine, they are to be found in any major city in the world, especially where tourists or business travelers go. People, especially Ukrainians put too much emphasis on the 'sex' issue as a characteristic of this County: if they want to be original or outstanding at anything they will have to be more creative: pay to play is the world's oldest profession and it is to be found everywhere in the world. Just Google 'escorts' followed by the name of any city, to confirm this. Ukraine has many treasures besides.

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Anonymous April 2, 2009, 2:40 p.m.    

Ukrainians are some of the most self-deprecating people I ever met, closely followed by liberal Americans. Although for opposite reasons, we see again that opposite extremes almost touch. It would appear that Ukrainians are very concerned on how they appear to the rest of the world, how we think and perceive them. That is quite arrogant in fact. The reality is most of the world does not even know where Ukraine is or the first thing about its history or people. Not much time is spent by others evaluating or considering Ukraine, as it does not really play any important part on the life, interest or even curiosity of others. As long as you continue with petty in-fights, battling for a larger piece of the same small and stale pie instead of growing it, showing the world how little self-respect you have, this situation will continue.

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Anonymous April 2, 2009, 2:48 p.m.    

It would be interesting to publish figures as to the numbers of Men alone who arrive in Borispol.Also the numbers of accompanied people who appear the genuine Tourists.It is hard fact that Ukraine has become the Country of enticing men for sexual reasons.The amounts of Scams by women are unprecedented.Dating sites in abundance many not originating in Ukraine lure men into the trap.The Ukraine woman has little interest in leaving her Country and settling abroad and rightly so.Tourist travelling around Ukraine are open to abuse and their Security is compromised.

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Anonymous April 2, 2009, 3:05 p.m.    

How is it Ukriane for toursists? It is like this: I was riding the train to Donetsk and ordered one glass of tea from the conductor. The next morning she was collecting the money, as they do and said, "Ten gryvna." "How much?" "Ten gryvna." It was only after I rattled off severl sentences in Russian that she realized that I was not a tourist, even if I was a foreigner. So, she simply said, "1 1/2 gryvna." No shame! No embarassment! No sense of anything! That is still fairly typical in Ukraine.

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Anonymous April 2, 2009, 3:28 p.m.    

Brett Ousley has absolutely no room to talk. The prices he charges to men that come over is a crime in itself. I've talked with so many guys while enjoying an overpriced beer in obriens that were depressed with Mr Kiev Connections. I've been to Kiev many times. My wife of 6 years is from Ukraine. The thieves at Boryspil,the police and Kiev Connections are the single reason most people chose to not return. Hopefully when I return in July the Dublin Breakfast in Obriens will not cost me $13 because it's a great place to have a pint and meet some interesting people.

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Anonymous April 2, 2009, 3:45 p.m.    

Dear quests and other strangers!

If you are hope to find in Ukraine hospitality and feel yourself safety it is very easy. You must respect this country and its inhabitants and luck will smile to you =))

I have read you comments and I am upset. This country brings you money or education so you have to be grateful and don’t complain for food, people or apartment. You aren’t satisfied, are you? Come back to your homes and eat yours hamburgers!

In other way – welcome to Ukraine and have a nice time!

Sincerely yours, young Ukrainian girl

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Anonymous April 4, 2009, 9:37 a.m.    

I agree respect ukrainia and ukraina traditions. If you want to have western standards then go somewhere else. But all in all I prefer ukraina in all matters. But that could be becuase I am from roots in Kyiv and roots in my beloved ukraina. But by all means respect their language, try learning even a few words of russian or ukraine. be kind to the people, respect their history and by all means respect their culture.

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Anonymous April 2, 2009, 4:51 p.m.    

Nobody knows about Ukraine. & It is difficult to get to.

If Ukraine wants an influx of tourists... MARKET YOURSELF.

Make Crimea known to more than eastern Germans and Russians.

Partner with Polish Tourist Councils to promote the shared history.

Make it easier to get in.

Translate. Translate. Translate. (While I have not been in several years the very well done WWII museum is basically inaccessible to non Ukr/Ru speakers.

Tourists are getting as far as Poland and Czecho. If you want them to take that next jump over - give them a reason.

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Anonymous April 2, 2009, 4:59 p.m.    

I travel a lot to Ukraine, mainly for sex purposes.

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Anonymous April 2, 2009, 5:03 p.m.    

"Young Ukraine Girl".....Sorry you are upset but the descibed is a fact which you should not ignore.Your Cultures dictate that you survive no matter the price you pay incl Prostitution which is rampant in the Country.Even to the point of Mamas resorting to this vile trade in order to provide for your education....Bless

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Anonymous April 2, 2009, 5:34 p.m.    

to English realist

I am not care about problems of prostitution in my country because I think everyone have their own way to exist. But, I have been traveled a lot in many different countries. And I must admit that Ukrainian people and culture is very pleasant for a good people. Ukraine isn’t perfect.

Stupid guys who only care about sex and food never understand how interesting and beautiful Ukraine can be. Shame for them…

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Anonymous April 2, 2009, 6:04 p.m.    

So you do admit to Prostitution being rampant,and a way of life.With respect to you their is many things in the world you do not yet understand.Ukraine as the worst Infastructure in Europe.as i dont wear those dreadful pointed shoes I am a seen as a Tourist and O Boy they take you apart..Shame you and I cannot meet and further this discussin.

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Anonymous April 2, 2009, 7:25 p.m.    

From the beginning of discussion I have said:

Ukraine infrastructure is very bad. I am absolutely agree

BUT. Ukrainian people - aren't

Don't make conclusions about Ukrainians for 1 or 2 bad examples.

I am really sorry that I couldn't show to all of you how funny, pleasant and comfortable can be with Ukrainians

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Anonymous April 2, 2009, 5:18 p.m.    

Dear Friends

pls consider the proved fact that most comments on KP sites are placed by educated employees of pro-Russian organizations, destroying image of this country. This, unfortunately, bothers exchanging realistic opinions of ours.

regards,

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Anonymous April 2, 2009, 5:20 p.m.    

what is the problem? I am American and I love Ukrainian girls for sex. And I like to speak openly about that, to open a discussion and to debate.

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Anonymous April 2, 2009, 5:43 p.m.    

That's your problem.

Ukrainians are more correct, civil, gentlemanlike and etc. then Americans.

And they had never spoke about sex in details in public newspapers like Kyiv Post.

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Anonymous April 2, 2009, 5:45 p.m.    

I do sex there with UKRAINIANS. so what? who is correct?

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Anonymous April 3, 2009, 6:09 p.m.    

You are obviously not an American. It shows clearly in your language and your name. You are, though, a brute.

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Anonymous April 2, 2009, 5:28 p.m.    

To be honest: When you want to book an apartement in Kiev (hotels are too expensive), they offer themself still at about 100$ at least for a normal room. The same as some time ago, before the devaluation. Of course you can bargain, but that it is demanding.

Food and restaurant bills may be cheaper, this is clear. But if you want to make a trip, you have to rent a car and they are also charged mainly in dollars and prices stay the same.

Much more however, why should a normal tourist no go to Ukraine? First of all, flights are not that cheap, in fact for a Western European it is half as expensive to fly to Berlin, Paris or London. Secondly, a lot of people also face less income in the West. And as Kiev is not necessarily a place for the wealthy tourists, normal tourists will obviously not come more often to Ukraine in a situation where they have themselfs a lot of financial problems.

Such CNN advertisment will not help a lot. More important are crucial, fundamental facts.

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Anonymous April 2, 2009, 5:30 p.m.    

The whole Eastern Europe has tourism, but never in the same extent as other touristic destinations in the world. Regardless of the infrastructure shortcomings, Ukraine will not become an important touristic destination in nearest time - maybe Kiev and other cities are for some interesting.

In Winter, people want to go skiing, in summer they seek for the warm places in Egypt, Turkey, Thailand, Mexico and so on and on.... Also in Europe itself, Spain and France as well as of course Italy, offer enough.

We see it clearly: Russians and Ukrainians go themself to Turkey and Egypt in their holiday time. I think this explains all.

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Anonymous April 2, 2009, 5:36 p.m.    

There is no tourism in Ukraine. I am absolutely agree.

BUT! I am absolutely disagree about people

the are going to Turkey and Egypt in order to see something new.

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Anonymous April 2, 2009, 5:44 p.m.    

No, they sit at the beach in Turkey or Egypt. Just to sit there, not to travel around. In fact, it doesn't matter if you sit at the beach in Turkey, Egypt or somewhere else.

They go there because it is cheaper than to go to Crimea, where there is no (mass) tourism industry at all. Simple explanation. People are price sensitive.

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Anonymous April 2, 2009, 5:48 p.m.    

I have been in Egypt last February and I traveled a lot. So, different people have different interests.

About Crimea. Have you ever been there?

There are a lot of ways to have a cheap rest there. Belive me. (I am not talking about sex) =)

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Anonymous April 2, 2009, 5:57 p.m.    

Ukrainians go to Egypt or Turkey mainly because it is cheaper (as well as less visa restrictions). It is like that. Why to go to Crimea and spend a huge amount of money in a hotel or apartement?

Did you see in Crimea such hotels, several levels, with huge buffet zone in the morning? I don't think there are a lot - as against Turkey or Egypt. I don't judge here if such hotels should exist or not, due to other criterias. I just point out to this fact.

So this made such holidays cheaper and affordable - also for Ukrainians and Russians. This year, it will look different.

ukraineeconomy.blogspot.com

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Anonymous April 2, 2009, 5:47 p.m.    

How old are you if I may ask? You live in Kiev?

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Anonymous April 2, 2009, 5:46 p.m.    

There are obviously people which want to see something. But they are minority, and in fact, for a normal Ukrainian citizens, to travel around in the world is relativley expensive.

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Anonymous April 2, 2009, 5:54 p.m.    

Yes, I was in Crimea. Nature is nice, as in Provence. But to find a normal hotel with normal prices, impossible. Apartements, you can find, but also quite expensive.

I would say there are other places which offer at least the same standard in nearer distance.

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Anonymous April 2, 2009, 5:49 p.m.    

Yes. I am living in Kiev

I am 24 and what?

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Anonymous April 2, 2009, 5:58 p.m.    

do you work in Kiev? How is the situation in the labor markets in the moment?

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Anonymous April 2, 2009, 6:02 p.m.    

I am work in bank

The situation is awful

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Anonymous April 2, 2009, 6:20 p.m.    

You work in the retail banking? Directly at the desk, back office? Credit departement? A lot of shortfalls?

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Anonymous April 2, 2009, 7:13 p.m.    

No. I am financial analytic

Yes. Nearly 2.5 per cent of both retail and corporate portfolio

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Anonymous April 2, 2009, 7:18 p.m.    

I mean loan portfolio

2.5 per cent of all client loan portfolio

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Anonymous April 2, 2009, 5:54 p.m.    

You perverts who travel to countries for sex are pretty disgusting. Obviously, the only way you can get it is to pay for it. What does that say about you. It perverts like you who contribute to the misery of human trafficking. And you should be ashamed to reveal that you are an American; they are already reviled in the world. You should be hung by your dork until it shrivels off.

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Anonymous April 2, 2009, 5:57 p.m.    

Why doesn't Ukraine promote heritage tours from the USA? There are literally millions of Americans who can trace their roots back to Ukraine. It would be interesting for many of these people to find their ancestral homes, and perhaps even find a living relative or two.

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Anonymous April 2, 2009, 5:59 p.m.    

Such a shit what you are telling here. Shame on you!

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Anonymous April 2, 2009, 6:04 p.m.    

Why is this such a shit, may I ask?

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Anonymous April 2, 2009, 7:29 p.m.    

Respect to you

Good idea

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Anonymous April 2, 2009, 6:19 p.m.    

First of all, most Ukrainians which went out of their country live in Canada. There are some in USA, but not that much.

Secondly, why should these people travel through a country, where they don't face direct relatives and as we all know, infrastructure is relativley weak developed.

I travelled around with car, from Kiev to Sevastopol and similar things. Of course you can do that, but it is also quite stressing under these circumstances. And where the hell you can find a normal hotel or motel on such routes?

I just mean, Ukraine has of course some potential in tourism. But this potential could only come if the the country itself is already better developed. We don't have in Ukraine that amazing nature as in other countries. I agree, there are beautiful places, but nothing which you could not see somewhere else.

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Anonymous April 2, 2009, 7:22 p.m.    

First of all, I am not talking about recent emigres. I am talking about Ukrainians who left Ukraine (or, at the time Russia and/or Poland), to immigrate to the US, mostly during the period of 1860-1920. Surely the Ukrainian Embassy knows how many Americans can claim Ukrainian heritage And also, there are some Ukrainian cities, like Odessa and Lviv, that are interesting to visit correct? Not everybody wants to go to the best "party" city--some actually enjoy the historic sites.

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Anonymous April 2, 2009, 8:13 p.m.    

So organize it. For that you don't need a government. Make newspaper and TV advertisement and then deport the people to Ukraine which you think should see this country.

If following your logic, every country with citizend with foreign countries should make cooperations with their original countries so that these people can be "sent" to their home countries to see it.

If they want to do that, they go voluntarily. And the rest is not interested. Someone which wants to see Ukraine goes there. Someone which is not interested, doesn't think about it. Someone which wants to see Antarctis goes there to see it. Someone which is not interested doesn't go. Someone which wants to put its ass on the beach does that. Usually there where he has the best offer respectivley price-performance relationship.

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Anonymous April 3, 2009, 1:21 p.m.    

Can't find the comment about the tour to Ukraine -- there was a link. Was it deleted or did I lose it?

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Anonymous April 2, 2009, 6:19 p.m.    

Stereotyping men who seek a wife in Ukraine is no different than stereotyping women in Ukraine. I am a nice middle age American man who came to spend time with a seemingly nice woman 9 years my junior, 7 years ago. I was treated very well by everyone but the ripoff employees at Borispyl airport. Of course I was never without a local with me so that kept many problems such as pickpockets and crooked militia away from me. The real problem was the "nice" girl scammed me and took my money and left me. No I won't be returning to Ukraine. It is a dirty country with too many police and others out to scam tourists. A country with a permanent inferiority complex. My suggestion? Take a look at Mexico. A poor country but their tourist attractions are great and tourists are treated like royalty because Mexico wants the tourists to return with their friends and more money. The coastal areas of Crimea could be developed into nice tourist attractions with some focused effort and money.

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Anonymous April 2, 2009, 6:27 p.m.    

You just wanted to have sex with this nice woman. But she decided to take you the money away, before service appeared.

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Anonymous April 2, 2009, 7:25 p.m.    

Who in their right mind would travel 15 hours by plane, spend $1000 airfare, and go to a less-than-desirable location just to have sex? You obviously have never been to the USA. We have thousands of high-class escorts everywhere you go. There's absolutely no need to go to Ukraine for sex.

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Anonymous April 17, 2009, 10:02 a.m.    

"Thats just one theory why one would come to ukraine for sex..... "

nope, i don't buy it. I agree with the guy above who said

"Who in their right mind would travel 15 hours by plane, spend $1000 airfare, and go to a less-than-desirable location just to have sex?"

There are poor deperate girls everywhere. there is no reason to go to Ukraine and spend all that money on just some $20 hooker. i think ukrainian girls who think like that are full of it.

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Anonymous April 3, 2009, 9:36 p.m.    

ome sick guys probably enjoy a poor deperate ukranian girl doing them for $20 USD. They dont get the same kick out of it in USA, they feed of that misery and desperation, they feel more powerfull. Thats just one theory why one would come to ukraine for sex.....

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Anonymous April 4, 2009, 9:29 a.m.    

It sounds a little bitter to me. I too came to Ukraine to meet a nice girl. Unlike you I was not ripped off. I too met many americans that were looking for the right girl. But most of them had no manners, thought the mighty USD would make up for lack of class, unpressed clothes, dirty shoes and poor hygene, I lived in Ukrainia for almost 6 months to get her visa. Ukraina is my home away from home. I am closer to my ukrainia family then my unapprecative american family. I prefer Ukraina over any other place that I have visited.

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Anonymous April 2, 2009, 7:42 p.m.    

I'm amazed at this story. Why would David Hall, an antique dealer, find it odd that a hotel concierge tries to steer him to a strip club or prostitute? That happens in every hotel in any major city. The concierge gets a referral fee from the strip club and/or escort agency for steering his guests to them. This happens everywhere.

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Anonymous April 3, 2009, 10:08 a.m.    

Where is "everywhere"? Not in civilized Europe, not in the US. Try this in the Plaza in NY... Try in hotel Adlon in Berlin... Try in the Majestic in Cannes... You chances are you get thrown out of the hotel.

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Anonymous April 3, 2009, 8:29 a.m.    

I am a 2nd generation American of 100% Ukrainian ancestry. My wife and I were in Ukraine last summer to visit the birthplace of my grandmother, a very small village about 70 miles south of VInnitsa. Our entire time in country could not have been more pleasant. We were sur[rised that the ATM machine at a bank in Murovani Kurylivtsi, a town of about 7000, was in English! Yes, we had our fears of vising a former Soviet republic, but we had the most wonderful time. Even coming and going through Borispol was easier than other airports such as Frankfurt and Zurich.

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Anonymous April 3, 2009, 9:31 p.m.    

I have to agree with you there, I was pleasantly surpised with Ukraine

I was born in Kiev but lived in Canada most my life and on my first visit back to my homeland I was not expecting much. However Kiev has changed a lot in the last 14 years and most changes are for the better. I would definitly visit Ukraine again.

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Anonymous April 3, 2009, 8:29 a.m.    

People will come to witness the charm of the disintegration of a state, and to feel better about their crisis-ridden countries back home.

The main interest in Ukraine is seeing how people still manage to be happy and maintain some dignity while being let down so much by their government.

With all repect to the Heritage Tours, it is revealing that it needs to be Heritage stuff to attract tourists. It is like, "look how underdeveloped we are".

Recently: half an hour to get a simple UMC phone card (the lady in the first shop was on the phone talking to a friend). The second shop was out of the right cards etc etc.

Recently: one hour to get money out of an ATM.

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Anonymous April 3, 2009, 8:40 a.m.    

Do you have a huge penis, mike? Where you come from?

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Anonymous April 3, 2009, 9:15 a.m.    

First question: i get no complaints on the service.

Second question: why does it matter so much? To go ahead with narrow stereotyping? If i tell you i come from country A or B or C, will you make negative conclusions about the people of this country?

You have a typical Ukrainian reaction: hear something uncomfortable? The speaker must be an ennemy. Always good to put the failures on the tab of a self created ennemy.

Let me tell you, the ennemy is within you. Low (read inexistent) professionalism and arrogance. And you want to attract tourists with such an attitude? Do you have any idea how spoiled average western tourists are? I am not talking about the safari tourists you get because they like that disfunctioning folklore.

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Anonymous April 3, 2009, 9:33 a.m.    

Again, you run away from the reality: poor service.

Your answer is most likely to motivate big operators to organize tours in Ukraine (NOT).

Look, if a client complains, the international standard is to try to improve the service and not to insult the client. If you don't understand this, you will be very busy really not understanding why foreigners have negative views of your country.

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Anonymous April 3, 2009, 2:52 p.m.    

Your problem is, that you don't like Prostiution. My only interest is prostiution and I offer one of the best services there. I don't see your problem.

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Anonymous April 3, 2009, 10:34 a.m.    

I'm glad I live in Souther California... Still, I suspect it's more the lack of leadership in Ukraine that is the real problem.

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Anonymous April 4, 2009, 9:52 a.m.    

Im happy you live in southern California too, a failed state, broke, begging the government for a bail out, illegal Mexican drug gangs, insane drivers that will shoot you for no reason, and one of the highest foreclosure areas of the country, yes, I too am glad you, not me live there. And you want to discuss bad leadership?

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Anonymous April 3, 2009, 10:35 a.m.    

Typo: should have been Southern California, Los Angeles region. Yes, 30 minutes by car from Hollywood, Dineyland, and all that.

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Anonymous April 3, 2009, 1:12 p.m.    

Mike 2 wrote:

"With all repect to the Heritage Tours, it is revealing that it needs to be Heritage stuff to attract tourists. It is like, "look how underdeveloped we are".

Well, Mike, shows how much you know and want to know -- you sure speak for yourself. Heritage does not equal underdeveloped. If you want MacDonald's and WalMart, well, that's your level of development? Stay home. Heritage is history, culture, everything that was and has continued. That Russian Communist (and tsarist, earlier) legacy sure warped the mentality of many people. And yet look how far they've come. It will take decades. And as for the low-life creeps who come looking for women, you deserve your life, if that's all you know. It will come back to haunt you.

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Anonymous April 3, 2009, 4:30 p.m.    

Whether you are at home, or traveling, you see what you want to see, and seek out what interests you. If you're a sleazebag, you will look for sleaze. If you don't know about a country's thousands-year-old history, and just complain about rudeness (have you been in NYC?), you'll get what you're looking for. What about how you come across, big boy? Pathetic.

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Anonymous April 3, 2009, 5:42 p.m.    

Hey, what do you mean rudeness in NYC? Obviously you've never been in NYC, because the people in NYC are friendly and helpful, and very much welcome the tourists and try to make them feel at home. Stop making these false stereotypes about NYC. You don't know what you're talking about.

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Anonymous April 4, 2009, 12:28 a.m.    

The world is in recession.Ukraine needs to first develop the backpacker market in order for the tourism sector to develop. It also needs to encourage Russians to holiday in Ukraine. Europe or America does not see Ukraine as a holiday destination only a place to find a wife and sex tourism. Which is a shame really as Ukraine has a lot to offer the cultural adventure tourist. One of the best countries I have ever visited.

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Anonymous April 4, 2009, 4:15 a.m.    

really this is at odds with the stuff in the report above, when i landed at boris i needed to get

to zapporozia ,a taxi driver took me to the train station ,bought me the right ticket escorted me

to my carriage ,thx, then im sharring a carriage with three girls a mum and daughter and cousin on their annual break to crimea , its july its hot i got no food or drink, but the girls feed me and teach me to say please and thanks, thanks, when i get off at zap. they are asleep and i leave

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Anonymous April 5, 2009, 11:07 p.m.    

You could have bought your ticket at the airport. It sounds to me that your purpose for visiting Ukraine is to find a wife.I would have thought that most people would have woken up to the fact that 95% of the ads are scams. with 99% of the marriage agencies ripping you off. Find a wife at home.Its cheaper.

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Anonymous April 4, 2009, 8:28 a.m.    

Watch the movie "Everything is Illuminated" and get prepared to the Ukrainian adventure.

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Anonymous April 4, 2009, 9:18 a.m.    

I dont agree at all. Kyiv is a beautiful city, full of articulate, well educated and femimine ladies unlike in the states where they dress and act like boys. Kyiv is my spiritual city and Ukraina is my home away from home. Of course that could be that I have family ties to Kyiv and was raised on stories of Ukraina. Expecting russian manners to be more gentle then in the west, well that just does not make any sense. Russians manner maybe a little bit on the rough side but so is NYC, Give Kyiv a break and enjoy the sights, smells and sounds why you can. God less Ukrainia.

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Anonymous April 4, 2009, 9:46 a.m.    

To be honest: When you want to book an apartement in Kiev (hotels are too expensive), they offer themself still at about 100$ at least for a normal room. The same as some time ago, before the devaluation. Of course you can bargain, but that it is demanding.

Food and restaurant bills may be cheaper, this is clear. But if you want to make a trip, you have to rent a car and they are also charged mainly in dollars and prices stay the same.

Much more however, why should a normal tourist no go to Ukraine? First of all, flights are not that cheap, in fact for a Western European it is half as expensive to fly to Berlin, Paris or London. Secondly, a lot of people also face less income in the West. And as Kiev is not necessarily a place for the wealthy tourists, normal tourists will obviously not come more often to Ukraine in a situation where they have themselfs a lot of financial problems.

Such CNN advertisment will not help a lot. More important are crucial, fundamental facts.

Answer

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Anonymous April 5, 2009, 11:04 p.m.    

Ukraine is a not a five star destination.Why are you visiting Ukraine. Looking at most of the posts here it is clear that they are mainly men looking for young wives. No wonder Ukraine gives the wrong impression. If you visit Ukraine for two weeks you will never know it.Its not England or Scotland. The best thing for Ukraine's tourism would be if Russia also freed up its visas and Ukraine would be an added tourist destination in a chain of destinations.

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Anonymous April 4, 2009, 9:46 a.m.    

After reading all of these comments, I am puzzled. I visted at least 10 times in the last 5 years, maybe they visted another place with the same name. There are areas of Kyiv I would not go to, but all the places i have visted I have throughly enjoyed. I find the women to be jewels. But then again I am not looking for sex or easy time. I prefer Ukrainia hotels or amerikan ones. The taxi drivers are what I expect, but nothing worse the London or NYC. Give ukriane a break. The people of ukraine are decent people, worthy of your respect. So give them a break.

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Anonymous April 4, 2009, 10:54 p.m.    

hould be american not amerikan

go make a language course

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Anonymous April 5, 2009, 9:36 a.m.    

Blah blah blah can you spell should? or did you soviet instructors not teach you that?

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Anonymous April 4, 2009, 10:11 a.m.    

@Amerika: You go there to marry younger woman cause you cannot do that in the USA. And then you feel proud of yourself. But you just forget that this woman wanted to flee her country in first sense, and that as soon as you will get old, she will leave you. If she doesn't leave you, she will be happy that you finance her life. And I am sure that you do as she doesn't work.

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Anonymous April 4, 2009, 10:20 a.m.    

You are right as I pay for my wive's life. But I can afford it. And I also help her family, but that is the price one pays for a good life. Everyone is happy, soon mama will come to amerika and get decent medical care. But after all we won the cold war and the spoils belong to the victors not to the vanquished

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Anonymous April 4, 2009, 11:45 a.m.    

No American wanted you, poor. And Your Ukrainian swallows your money

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Anonymous April 4, 2009, 4:36 p.m.    

Rather it was them other way around. i wanted no american woman.

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Anonymous April 4, 2009, 5:58 p.m.    

What is the difference? There are quite nice American Girls. For eg. Anna Nicole Smith....

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Anonymous April 4, 2009, 10:27 p.m.    

if you wish a amerikanski girl the best of luck. i have an ukrainian friend that married an american woman in kyiv and within 1 year he was divorced, she had his apt and he had her daughter. that is wwhat the difference. me I have been married to the same woman for 10 years now and three children later, we have a happy ukr-amerikan family

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Anonymous April 20, 2009, 12:42 a.m.    

What BS. no one won the cold war. There were only losers from both sides. Your imperialistic attitude will not get you far and you will not be embraced by the country you visit. And tht is not just Ukraine but else where also. I suggest you take a long hard look at yourself and take advise from your President and Change,

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Anonymous April 4, 2009, 12:48 p.m.    

I was married already to 8 Ukrainian women and always after 3 Months approximatley, I had to divorce. Why? They robbed all my money.

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Anonymous April 5, 2009, 8:26 p.m.    

fool me once, shame on you. but 8 times? come on, dude.

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Anonymous April 17, 2009, 9:18 a.m.    

LOL! - 8 times! haha

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Anonymous April 4, 2009, 4:01 p.m.    

Ukraine has to be the worst Tourist spot on the globe.The women are worthless and lazy and educated to scam any one they can.The infastructure is the worst and the food Uugh.Its people are brought up to survive at all costs while the leaders get their noses further into the trough.You trust a Ukrainian at your peril.

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Anonymous April 5, 2009, 7:46 a.m.    

We have lived and worked in western Ukraine. We have stayed in great hotels in L'viv, Kyiv, Dnepropetrovsk, and Odessa. Even rented an apartment for the holidays in Kyiv. We can't wait to return to Ukraine to work again.

They kindest, hardest working people we met was in the hospital when my wife was admitted for an infection that almost killed her. And I was ill also. They were infections we picked up using public facilities in Ukraine.

Back home, my wife was diagnosed as having been exposed to tuberculosis and I was diagnosed as having beat off a case of hepatitis.

There's the hacking coughing on the marshrutkas, the absolutely filthy restrooms. One women's bus stop restroom was nothing but a concrete room with a dirt floor and women were expected to find a spot another person had not defecated or urinated upon.

I cannot recommend Ukraine as a tourist destination. No tourist with money is going to squat in filth.

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Anonymous April 5, 2009, 10:55 p.m.    

Yes Ukraine is not a five star resort.But it is an adventure/backpacker tourist destination. you do not visit Ukraine to stay in five star hotels. Its not America or England

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Anonymous April 5, 2009, 11 p.m.    

America is 1 star maximally, as a frequent America visitor. Every 2nd motel has cockroaches.

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Anonymous April 6, 2009, 11:43 p.m.    

.. but fresh towels

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Anonymous April 5, 2009, 8:35 a.m.    

There are bad hotels, bad service, thieves and prostitutes all over the world, and not only in Ukraine. You can find bad hotels, bad service and bad infrustructure even in high tourist areas of the US, e.g. NYC, San Fran or LA. And yes, majority of people are rude in NYC. Ukraine has a lot to offer as far as history, culture, beautiful landscapes. People are very friendly and hospitable. I have never experienced anything bad in Borispol airport, and most of the comments I read about the airport sound very unrealistic to me. Not everything is perfect in Ukraine, but one may say the same about some areas of Italy, Spain, France, Turkey or Egypt.

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Anonymous April 5, 2009, 6:22 p.m.    

The biggest problem is that the average Ukrainians - women and especially men - don t use showers and have never learnt the use of a tooth brush, even nose cleaning is done mostly using the hand only.

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Anonymous April 5, 2009, 11:18 p.m.    

Looking at most of teh comments below is clear that most are visiting Ukraine for the wrong reason. Ukraine is not a five star destination. Those that visit Ukraine for two weeks looking for a wife are a sad lot. They will never know Ukraine and will most likely never know their wife if they manage to find one in such a short time. Ukraine is a backpacker/adventure destination. It has a lot to offer. The marriage agencies are mostly scams. They make their money on emails , flowers and gifts. Sometimes they make money on tours. Mostly on emails and gifts. Most men looking for a wife do not visit Ukraine.,Only the desperate, rich and stupid. If your rich then you may have a chance at finding a wife. Love no a wife maybe. Most likly you will have spent $10,000 met a lot of women and left much wiser., But you will still not know Ukraine. Two weeks is no where near enough time.

Best time to travel in Ukraine is May/June or September/October.

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Anonymous April 5, 2009, 11:38 p.m.    

Thank you very much for this deep sighted insider information.

So valuable etc

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Anonymous April 6, 2009, 7:55 a.m.    

Finally somebody talking is some sense. Yes, Ukraine is not a 5-star destination. Yes, the service is still crap. Yes, Soviet vestiges linger. And that's all part of Ukraine's appeal. If you want good service, creature comforts, and English, then stick to the US or Western Europe. If you're an adventurous type who prefers the exotic to the familiar, you'll find a lot to like in Ukraine - just as you'll ll find a lot to like off-the-beaten track in Russia or any other former Soviet country. Even for the less adventurous, there's still some places worth visiting in Ukraine, starting with Kyiv, Lviv and Odessa. There's also Chernobyl, Crimea, the Nuclear Missile Museum, Bessarabia and the Danube Biosphere reserve, Kamyanets Podilsky, oodles of quaint Western Ukrainian towns, good skiing and hiking in the Carpathians and plenty of Jewish and wartime history everywhere. Surprised how negative everybody here is about traveling in Ukraine (among other things).

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Anonymous April 20, 2009, 12:50 a.m.    

Thank you. I visited Ukraine for two weeks back in 2001 and fell in love with the people and the country. I have since spent over six years living in Ukraine and traveling around all parts of Ukraine. I think it is the best country I have visited in terms of learning about different cultures and history. Its people are some of the best and pasts of the worst I have met BUT overall they are the most friendly and well educated.

I am sick and tied of hearing about the Bride hunters who get ripped off on some scam. Many are born losers anyway and they think they can come to Ukraine to save the women from life of poverty. Yes they may not have the same opportunities as "Westerners". If you do not like Ukraine stay away. Go to Florida or some exotic island. If you want culture, history and great company Welcome to Ukraine. There is a lot to do and see.

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Anonymous April 20, 2009, 12:59 a.m.    

Not to forget Crimea. Yalta. Balaklava, Simperopol, Svestapol, Kerch, Alushta, Mali Myak, Alupka, and a host of other exciting places to visit in the Crimean Peninsula. So much to do. You can spend all you time just mixing and relaxing with the locals. We "westerns" can learn a lot from Ukrainians and Russians alike. When ever I meet a Ukrainian I make a point of telling them how wonderful and exciting their country is. They rightly should be proud of their history and culture.

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Anonymous April 6, 2009, 6:27 a.m.    

It is no doubt true that alot of men from USA and Europe come to Ukraine for a wife, or women. However, that might be less true in the near future since I am finding out that new opportunities are opening up for American men with American women as a result of the recession/depression world-wide.

Alot of American men are out of work, 8.5% official unemployment and 16% unofficially, so this reduces the competition for the ones that remain employed. And you don't need to get on a plane for a 15 - 17 hour trip, either.

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Anonymous April 6, 2009, 7:37 p.m.    

This country is better left alone,it is not safe for Tourists,a mecca for disease and a cultural society from the stone age.

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Anonymous April 6, 2009, 8:52 p.m.    

Well... I just have to say that I also wanted to find a nice girl to marry from Ukraine. I tried several times over the past 8 years and finall got married to a nice girl for only 3 months. Again she took everything and ran away!!! I am the type of guy that many girls would want to marry but I made a decision to find a Ukrainian because of certain qualities I desired. I am the romantic type and I thought that the girls there were still interested in love! Of course as it turned out that was not the case. Trip after trip the idea of Kiev turning into a big brothel is reinforced. The people are becoming rude and even hostile toward visitors for no apparent reason. Maybe 10 or 15 years ago Ukraine was a nice place but now, and because of the many men going there, the girls learned all the scamming tricks. Unfortunately there are no moral values left because of, yes, capitalistic infestation!!!.

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Anonymous April 6, 2009, 11:20 p.m.    

Ukrainians should not confuse the backpacking/adventure youth who stay in the cheapest places and take the night trains to save hotel costs. The tourist Ukraine needs are rich Germans, Austrians, and people from North America who will spend real money on a hotel room, rent taxis, and travel on tourists buses. These tourists do not want adventure if it involves disease and filth. Ukraine's virtue of frugality is also its tourism curse. In one city, the city built a new toilet at a tourist stop, but the city keeps it locked and forces tourists to use the nasty old pit toilet. They city does not want to pay to clean the new toilet. Also, every gasoline station and every restaurant built in Ukraine should be required to maintain clean restrooms. Private businesses that benefit from tourism should pay their share.

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Anonymous April 7, 2009, 5:38 p.m.    

I was saddened to read all the negative views on Ukraine. I visited the Ukraine in February for the first time and stayed in Kiev for 4 days. I was never met by any rude treatment, quite the opposite. I don't speak any Russian at all (excluding Yes and No) but found most people very helpful. 1) Buying a local SIM card: Very helpful non-english speaking staff. 2) Topping up my SIM: very helpful non-english speaking staff. 3) Eating in restaurants: good service and good food from english-speaking staff. 4) Rides in taxis: No problems - I showed a map and asked: -Hrivna?, and was shown how much it would cost. Visits to bars: good service even from non-english speaking staff. And yes, I did meet Kiev-ladies although that was not the purpose of my visit: Some only spoke very little English, but were still very happy to exchange a few words. Some speak very good English and we had a good time together. I am now going back to Kiev over Easter, to see more of the city and more of the people.

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Anonymous April 7, 2009, 11:05 p.m.    

I rarely post anything on the internet but given that this is close to home so to speak I feel like I can contribute. I have been living in Ukraine for over 10 years as an American and have seen it through good and bad. The article is a bit harsh in a general sense because it seems to mention all the negatives and leaves out quiet a few positives. The man who is running the marriage agency for instance, is himself known to be quiet a close on the Kiev nightlife circuit so perhaps some of that reputation has caught up with him. While it is true that issues such as police hassling westerners exist, I find it very difficult to believe that it happens all that routinely. I also work in the tourist arena here and hear these things every now and then but by no means they are widespread. Further, if one carries their photocopy of passport and entry card with them, they don’t have to worry about being stopped at all.

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Anonymous April 7, 2009, 11:17 p.m.    

Sorry I mean to say " .....the man who is running the marriage agency for instance, is himself known to be quiet a clown on the Kiev nightlife circuit ...."

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Anonymous April 7, 2009, 11:05 p.m.    

It seems to me that the author of the article goes to Kiev and expect to find Orlando US there. This is never going to be the case. I think it may be worth mentioning, that while the typical Ukrainians appear to be cold and rude on the outside, if someone is truly in need they are always ready to take their shirt off their back to help that person, just like they do in almost all countries around the world. If anything, people are warmer with each other than say United States, where it is not uncommon for neighbors not to know each other’s name albeit living next to each other for many years.

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Anonymous April 7, 2009, 11:05 p.m.    

I will be the first to say that Ukraine has many issues in relation to tourism development; however, there also is a category of people that do prefer to see things in their natural state. What I mean is that if Kiev tomorrow becomes like Geneva, in the way it operates it will lose some of its appeal. There is some beauty in the fact that not the entire world is yet the same, there are places that drastically differ from each other and Ukraine is one of those places. If you are looking for a relaxing vacation with a cocktail in your hand, I suggest heading to Marbella or Santorini. If you want to have an adventure, meet nice people and have a chance to meet some of the most beautiful women in the world before the rest of the planet has discovered this place, then Ukraine may be for you.

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Anonymous April 8, 2009, 12:52 a.m.    

I go from Sweden to Ukraine by car every summer, this year for the 14th time. No major problems ever occured to me. Friendly and helpful people. Roads could be a little better as well as food and other service. But for me it's a real break to get away from the "Western civilisation" for a while.

However, to become a hot tourist destination, Ukraine needs to do a lot more.

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жора darkside April 23, 2009, 3:18 p.m.    

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Jean Francois May 10, 2009, 9:31 a.m.    

The only tourism that Ukraine can really expect to generate, outside of Russians going to Crimea, is the hard core adventure tourist - the type that likes to go to offbeat places.

Standard tourists - that seek good value, good service, well-known historical sights, etc will never make it to Ukraine. Why go to the Carpathian ski resorts, when you can go to the Swiss Alps for the same cost?

As for pedophiles: Pedophilia is rotten - but I doubt Western pedophiles travelling to Ukraine is truly epidemic.

As for sex tourism: Given that working women in Ukraine generally cost as much, or often significantly more, than their counterparts in Western Europe, I don't see this as ever becoming out of control, the way it is often depicted. Given the high rates of remuneration, we're not talking the kind of sex-slavery that exists in India and Pakistan.

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