The Covid-19 pandemic dealt a huge blow to the global travel and tourism sector, with nearly all countries swiftly introducing travel restrictions in a bid to curb the spread of the virus. In Ukraine, the tourism industry, which is dominated by small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and an important employer, felt the impact immediately. The State Agency for Tourism Development (SATD) was tasked with devising an effective policy response to aid the sector’s recovery.
Building on its expertise in the SME sector and on previous collaboration in the Ukrainian tourism industry, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) supported the SATD in analysing the impact of the crisis and developing a National Tourism Action Plan. The plan proposed several solutions to support SMEs during the pandemic and to help prepare for recovery, including a government tourism voucher scheme, state financial support for hospitality-sector SMEs and their employees, an easing of the rules governing tourism businesses and hotel classification, streamlined quarantine safety measures and a dedicated online Covid-19 support platform for SMEs in the sector.
The analysis also identified structural weaknesses in need of improvement going forward.