Ukrainian tourists return to Kiev despite air raid sirens | World

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The streets of Kyiv are as bustling as they are on all day, and there are even congestions that slow the flow of traffic. If it weren’t for warnings of air raids, barricades, and sandbags in the front of administrative buildings, It would be easy to ignore the fact that Ukraine is fighting a war. Instead, it’s a typical day in the capital city, where people go to parks, walk along boulevards, and lounge in cafes.

“I left Kyiv for Poland on the 4th of April 2022. At the time, there were lots of checkpoints throughout the city. We had to carry our papers at every station, and only a few stores were open, and finding a cafe open was nearly difficult,” he comments. Ksenia Fedorova.

She worked for ten years at an important television station and now earns a salary as a voice actor. In her hometown of Kyiv, She says that things look a lot like they used to in the days before the war, such as restaurants, shopping malls, and cinemas are all open, as are the main streets packed.

If the siren for air strikes goes off in Khreshchatyk Street – Kyiv’s main avenue lined by bars, restaurants, and shops – most pedestrians are calm. People walk along, and others go towards the subway station to take shelter until the signal for release is signaled.

The domestic tourists are returning.

While foreigners have stayed away from Kyiv since the start of the conflict, the local tourists have returned in a flurry. This is because a lot of Ukrainians are keen on regular life as soon as possible, which for many, can mean taking short trips as well as visiting other cities.

Tours organized by the government to Kyiv are top-rated; however, with the war continuing to rage, many buyers are looking for routes that have bomb shelters nearby to use in the event of an emergency.

“The city tours are almost back to normal,” says Olena Oros, a guide. “I tend to have groups of up to 20 people, and special themed tours draw even bigger crowds.” She claims that many tourists from the country are now comfortable enough to go to the city and go on tours.

2 of 3 Restaurants and cafes get packed once more in the Ukrainian capital. Image: Andreas Stein/DPA/Picture Alliance

Restaurants and cafes fill up with customers in the Ukrainian capital. Image: Andreas Stein/DPA/Picture Alliance

“Refugees also participate in my excursions; residents of Kharkiv have joined at least three of them.” She was even contacted to join an excursion in English by a Dutch volunteer in Ukraine.

The tourism industry in Ukraine has evolved into a generous side: many guidebooks and travel agencies continue to give a percentage of their profits to charities. In addition, some offer discounts for members of their Armed Forces, families, and children.

During the first few weeks of the conflict during the war, things in Kyiv were highly turbulent. However, it’s returning to normal. Several cultural institutions have opened. As a result, it’s possible to spend an enjoyable evening at the Lesya Ukrainka National Theater, in an opera, or at museums like The National Museum of Ukrainian History.

“When the war started, for the first few days, our most valuable exhibits were packed up and taken to a safe place,” says Nataliya Lihitskaya scientist at the museum. It opened again in April. “We have created a temporary exhibition dedicated to the battle of Kyiv and its heroes, but we can only allow access to groups of up to 20 visitors. In addition, we have an air raid shelter in case of an attack alert.”

On weekends and at night on weekends, concerts in the open air are held in the parks of Kyiv. Street performers perform music from jazz and pop along with Ukrainian musical performances in open areas. Underground concerts are also staged in the Maidan Nezalezhnosti metro station.

3. St Andrew’s Church is one of Kyiv’s top tourist attractionsPhoto: Natalia Vasenko/DW

Andrew’s Church is one of Kyiv’s most popular tourist destinations. Photo Natalia Vlasenko/DW.

A majority of foreign visitors steer clear of Kyiv.

“Of course, conditions are unsafe, flights are restricted, and danger is constant, which makes it impossible to guarantee the safety of foreign tourists,” says travel consultant Maria Yuhnovets of Sputnik Kyiv DMC.

Most foreigners in Kyiv’s present day are politicians, journalists, and employees of aid agencies. People who work in Ukraine’s tourist sector don’t expect foreign tourists to come back shortly. This will require not just the end of the Russian attack and bombing but the end of martial law, not forgetting opening up airspace.

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