Ukraine ranks as the most affordable country in Europe and also one of the top-10 cheapest countries in terms of living costs in a new study “The Cost of Living Around the World 2018” published by British moving company MoveHub on March 15.
The company analyzed the prices and cost of living in different countries of the world, using data provided by the world largest online database Numbeo 2018 Cost of Living Index, and created an online map of the world’s most affordable and expensive countries for people to live.
The Numbeo database collects information provided by online users from around the world about prices and different consumer’s costs, such as meals at restaurants, prices for gym membership, and much more.
The Numbeo index is calculated using nearly 50 factors. MoveHub’s study used data from 115 countries around the world.
The firm excluded most African countries, and some South American and Asian countries as there weren’t enough users to provide data from there.
Europe’s most affordable country is Ukraine, followed by Kosovo and Moldova, MoveHub’s study reads.
Ukraine also ranked as the world’s third cheapest country, with only Egypt and Pakistan being more affordable.
The most expensive countries are: Bermuda, Switzerland, Iceland, Norway and the Bahamas. While the United States, the United Kingdom and Canada are “orange,” which means they are cheaper than the leaders of the ranking.
Cheap for foreigners
British travel company Hoppa named Kyiv the cheapest of 100-holiday destinations in 2018.
The average cost of a night’s stay is only $86, while the price of a night in New York is more than five times that, at $469.
“The low cost of living in Ukraine can boost the country’s attractiveness to international tourists,” Sergiy Didkovskiy, a PR strategist with the Adwise.Agency and co-owner of consulting agency Restoranskie, told the Kyiv Post on March 21.
“On the other hand a ‘cheap country’ for a tourist doesn’t (necessarily) mean an interesting or safe country to visit.”
Didkovskiy said it was still hard for international tourists opt for Ukraine when it came to selecting a travel destination.
The Kyiv Post reported on March 8 that international tourist numbers to Ukraine dropped significantly in 2014 following the start of Russia’s occupation of Crimea and its launch of the war in the Donbas.
Four years later, the tourism industry is only now starting to show some signs of recovery, with visitor numbers climbing to 14.2 million in 2017.
And most of the visitors to Ukraine aren’t tourists at all. Either they are using Ukraine as a transit country, crossing the borders for work, or simply visiting friends and relatives.
In the 2017 Travel and Tourism Index of the World Economic Forum, Ukraine ranked 88th among 136 countries, scoring a midpoint 3.5 point out of a possible score of 7.
By comparison, Spain saw more than 68 million visitors last year.
But what’s cheap for tourists is still pretty expensive for the majority of Ukrainians.
Ukraine’s currency, the hryvnia, lost nearly 70 percent of its value against the U.S. dollar after the EuroMaidan Revolution, while gross domestic product per capita stood at just $2,459 in 2017, marking a significant fall from the $3,969 in 2013. Among European countries, only Moldova has a lower GDP per capita.
And the average salary in Ukraine stands at just $290 as of January, having fallen from $333 in December. In comparison, neighboring Poland boasts an average monthly salary of 860 euros – and ranks 42nd in the World Happiness Report.