Executive Traveller goes one-on-one with Mayor Oleksii Boiarchuk about his tourism plans for Yalta

How excited are you about putting Yalta on the International Tourism map?

I have only been in office for three months* and together with this Forum and I am hoping that we can place Yalta as firmly as possible on the international tourism map. These are exciting times for Yalta and we are working with all stakeholders to make this as successful.

Can you give us a brief summary of what you are seeking to do with Yalta with regards to Tourism?
Our main task is to make Yalta an all-year-round resort. The short beach season in Yalta, which lasts no more than three or four months in the year makes it difficult for us to be competitive with neighbouring countries such as Turkey or Egypt; this is why we are seeking new ways to attract tourists.

We want to follow in the footsteps of Georgia with regards to accommodation. We are therefore inviting international brands to show interest in Yalta. We have successfully completed formal negotiations with representatives of the Hilton Group and I can now say that this is the first hotel network to establish itself in Yalta. We submitted a very interesting project and demonstrated good professional approach. We contacted the Brand’s central office, and they confirmed their intentions.

Because of the traditionally short holiday season, between May to September when the weather goes above 22OC, we are seeking investor attractions into medical tourism. We are working with countries like Israel which has great experience in this sector as well as Greece and Romanesque countries which have a lot of history.

One of our main targets is to develop recreation and rehabilitation areas, which were popular during soviet times; but with the collapse of the Soviet Union many health resorts have been lost. We simply have to redevelop medical tourism. A lot of people travel to Yalta throughout the year to improve their health this is one of the reasons why we want to bring in more hotel chains.

What can the authorities in Yalta do to help investors for a mutually beneficial result?
For example, with the hotels, we are involved in salaries and taxation discussions to create uniformity and competitiveness. Yalta has already invested in good infrastructure networks with good transportation links so that is a start. I also want to promote Yalta Internationally especially where cruises are concerned and we are in talks with the Royal Caribbean Cruises to build an international standard port and marina and run cruises services across the Black Sea with Yalta as a destination.

Will you build up a winter sport in Cremia?
I’ve seen ski resorts and I know what tourist expectations are. Unfortunately, our Ai-Petri will be never a competitor. Our largest descent is 1200m, and while other resorts get away with using snow cannons, for us to do the same here, we will have to drag industrial water from Yalta or Bakhchisarai, so I am afraid that Ai Petri will be always a local resort.

In attracting tourists to your destination the use of foreign languages such as English play a vital role but I notice that this is not widely spoken in Yalta. What plans if any, do you have in improving this and what training programmes has Yalta planned to develop travel and tourism.
There are adequate training facilities for hospitality already in Yalta. I do not think we really need to learn English; visitors to Yalta can also try to learn Ukrainian or Russian. When I travel abroad for example, I get by without really speaking the host country’s language.

You would agree though that the language barrier is problem because tourists can move freely if at least public notices and road signs are bilingual with at least the English Language presented alongside the native Ukrainian.
True – perhaps it is something that we have to think about but it is not really necessary.

*Date of interview: October 2011

 

 

Executive Traveller 2003