Three western Ukrainian cities: Lviv, Ivano-Frankivsk, and Kolomyia joined eastern Polish Lublin, Zamosc, and Przeworsk for a joint project – Eastern European Gems: the creation and promotion of urban cultural tourism products in the cross-border area. The participating cities will develop audio tours for individual tourists as well as offer other products for travellers. The program is sponsored by the European community.
According to the guides involved, the audio tours will not replace person to person communication and will be effective in attracting tourists to the smaller towns, reads radiosvoboda.org. That is an important feature since out of the six municipalities only two are bigger cities – Lviv and Lublin, while the other four are smaller typical Galician and Polish towns.
Lviv and Zamosc are included into the UNESCO World Heritage List, and, therefore, the two locations are more popular with tourist groups. According to the World Tourism Organization, however, the so-called organized tourism reaches only 30 percent among modern travellers. The new Eastern European Gems project aims at increasing the number of individual tourists and extending the time of their stay in the city by at least a day or two.
Together with developing audio guides the holidaymakers will be treated to newly created tourist maps of the historic districts, city guide books in seven languages, and special tourist signs. The head of the Ivano-Frankivsk Tourist Association, Oksana Fedorovych, commented that the weekend tours attract a certain type of travelers, and the project’s goal was to create self-guided tours for them. “We want to develop such tours innovatively: with music, sounds of market square, and historic hubbub,” she said.
Interestingly, the six cities together are home to nearly one and a half million people; about the same number of people visits them every year. The six destinations boast about three thousand historical and architectural monuments, reports radiosvoboda.org.
Notably, in August 2013 Ukraine was recognized as the Cheapest Tourist Destination among UNWTO’s top 20. On average, a tourist visiting Ukraine in 2012 spent little over USD 200. This was the absolute lowest among the 20 most popular tourist destinations, according to the UN World Tourism Organization. Comparably, a trip to Macau cost more than USD 3,200 – 16 times more expensive than Ukraine. Other cheap destinations were Russia (amount spent per head – USD 435) and Saudi Arabia (USD 540).