March 22, 2017

Ukraine presents itself on «Explore Ukraine»

Music meets diplomacy: The Ukrainian Ambassador of Ukraine to Norway, Mr Viacheslav Yatsiuk, surrounded by the Norwegian ESC winner, JOWST (Mr Joakim With Steen and Mr Aleksander Walmann).

Photos: Thomas Buikema Fjærtoft  Text: Monica Michelsen

March the 16th, around 60 representatives from the Norwegian and Ukrainian travel industry, Norwegian press and the business sector, attended «Explore Ukraine» – a joint event between the Ukrainian Embassy in Oslo and The Norwegian-Ukrainian Chamber of Commerce. The purpose of the event was to show Ukraine’s potential as a travel destination and connect Norwegian and Ukrainian tour operators together. With short geographical distance, an undiscovered culture with an exciting cuisine and excellent local wines, a pleasant climate and a low cost-level, Ukraine has much to offer Norwegian tourists with wanderlust.

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Ukrainian cuisine.

The Ukrainian Ambassador from Ukraine to Norway, Mr Viacheslav Yatsiuk, opened the event (Mr Yatsiuk’s speech). Few people are aware that Norway and Ukraine have common history back to the Viking age, and there is a lot of historical heritage for Norway to find in Ukraine. According to the tourism focus of the event Mr Yatsiuk also gave an update on the work with establishing direct flights between Norway and Ukraine, and could tell that there is a very positive dialogue going on with Norwegian Air Shuttle.

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Mr Ambassador Yatsiuk providing Ukrainian gifts for JOWST.

The trade between Ukraine and Norway is increasing, and 2015 marked the peak for the trade between our two countries. Last year there were 25 years since Ukraine and Norway re-established their bilateral and political connections. In this respect there is still much potential regarding travel, food and culture. As the Ambassador stated in his opening speech, Ukraine and Norway’s relations goes way back, and for instance the Norwegian Viking kings Olav Tryggvason and Harald Hardråde spent parts of their life’s in today’s Kyiv.

Mr Halvor Tjønn, author and former correspondent in Eastern Europe, gave the attendants time travel and introduction to the Norwegian-Ukrainian relations. Mr Tjønn has published a book discussing the historical Viking relations in Europe, and could tell that the Vikings are important for Ukraine and Norway’s common history.

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Mr Halvor Tjønn introducing Norwegian-Ukrainian relations back to the Viking age.

Another essential part on the agenda was the upcoming Eurovision Song Contest (ESC), which is to be held in Kyiv in May. Then nearly 200 million viewers will attract their attention to Ukraine. As a surprise at the event, the Norwegian ESC winner JOWST, represented by Mr Joakim With Steen and Mr Aleksander Walmann, was included in the program. They will compete with the rest of Europe in Kyiv in May with their song “Grab the Moment”. The duo could tell that they are very excited to go to the Ukrainian capital and were hoping to get some time to explore Kyiv. The President of OGAE (Den Norske Grand Prix Klubben), Mr Morten Thomassen, spoke about his expectations to the Eurovision final. He could tell that he has visited Kyiv before, and thinks the city is so much more than the common impression of grey and boring. «Kyiv is such a warm and welcoming city. Furthermore, I have been looking everywhere for the After Eight cappuccino I had in Kyiv last time», he said.

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Mr Morten Thomassen from OGAE is looking forward to the ESC finale in Kyiv this May.

Mr A. Taranenko, Head of Tourism Department in the Kyiv City State Administration, stated that he has high expectations to the Eurovision week in seven weeks time. He shared some facts about Kyiv city, for instance that it was founded 1500 years ago, it is the 7th largest city in Europe in terms of population, and also has two UNESCO heritages, which is the Saint-Sophia Cathedral and the Related Monastic Buildings.

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Mr A. Taranenko presenting Kyiv city.

The book «Awesome Ukraine» was released in 2016. This book simply puts together all that is awesome about Ukraine, from national dishes, to historical facts, symbols, mythology, popular culture and much more. Co-author of the book, Ms Iryna Tsilyk, could tell that the book only covers the top of the iceberg of what is to discover in Ukraine. «How to sum of everything you love about your country in 15 minutes», she asked before her speech. Of things to see and experience in Ukraine she highlighted Odessa International Film Festival, The Book Festival in Lviv and the Black Sea.

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Co-author of the book «Awesome Ukraine», Ms Iryna Tsilyk.

Representing «Reisewelt Ukraine» was Managing Director, Mr P. Tomandl. He recommended everyone who goes to Ukraine to travel by train to get the most out of their experience of the country. He especially encouraged going to Lviv, which is listed in UNESCO’s World Heritage Site. Among others he could tell a fact that not many people are aware of – that Mozart actually lived in Lviv for 30 years. Furthermore he could also tell that in contrast to the rest of Europe, you have free WiFi almost everywhere in Ukraine.

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Mr P. Tomandl presenting the work of «Reisewelt Ukraine».

Soon 80 students from the University of Oslo are going to Ukraine. To represent the students were Mr K.J. Tanderø Berglyd and Mr J.E. Ramsrud, and they told that there are high expectations to the trip soon to happen. «Almost all of the students voted for going to Ukraine. The tickets were sold out in two minutes, and still we have a waiting list for over a hundred people», they could tell the audience.

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Mr K.J. Tanderø Berglyd and Mr J.E. Ramsrud, who soon will travel to Ukraine along with 80 students from the University of Oslo.

After the plenary session, there was a musical contribution by Ms O. Myronchuk from the Norwegian National Opera and Ballet performing three classical songs, before the guests were offered traditional Ukrainian cuisine and wine, with mingling and B2B-meetings.

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Ms O. Myronchuk from the Norwegian National Opera and Ballet.

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