Ukraine

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8:21 AM Friday, December 15, 2017
Real Estate
Business travelers return to Kyiv, driving up hotel occupancy rates
Business pioneers fill hotels; ideally, tourists will follow
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KYIV -- Hoteliers and temporary apartment sites report more business travelers coming here, a sign of growing confidence in Ukraine’s economic recovery.

Travelers to Kyiv this fall are sometimes searching for rooms, a stark reversal of two years ago. For the second half of November, Airbnb shows that only 14% of 186 central Kyiv apartments listed in the $30-50 range are available for rent.

Hotels most popular with European and American business travelers, like the Hilton Kyiv and Radisson Blu, are seeing surges in occupancies this fall, historically the busiest season.

“When I arrived at the end of October, not only were all my usual places full, but those farther out from the center were also sold out,” said Jacob Joensen, a Danish tech expert who frequently comes to Kyiv, “I stopped by the Hilton, just to try my luck, but despite the fact that I arrived at around 9 pm, they wanted a full 390 euros per night.”

The Taras Shevchenko Boulevard entrance to the Hilton Kyiv shines on a sunny afternoon in August (UNIAN/Sergey Nuzhnenko)

Hilton Kyiv’s General Manager Hassan Ragab points to a busy fall conference season as one reason for his hotel’s high occupancies. Galyna Petrenko, Hilton’s Director of Business Development, said: “We have noticed a considerable increase in business this year, which we mainly attribute to business travelers and conferences.”

As more business professionals fly into Kyiv, hotel groups mull expanding.

“We are seeing a very healthy increase in occupancy,” said Jesper Henriksen, city director for Radisson Hotel’s three hotels in Kyiv. In addition to the two ‘Blus’ Radisson opened in September its third hotel, the 196-room Park Inn, near the National Olympic Stadium

“We have a surge of business travelers coming in from Western Europe that is greatly increasing our weekday business,” Henriksen said. “I can only assume that this is because people are increasingly interested in investing in Ukraine again.”

Kyiv’s two Radisson Blu hotels lost business after Ukraine’s February, 2014 revolution which ousted then-President Viktor Yanukovych. In 2015, the Radisson operated at 25% occupancy as visitors avoided Ukraine. Today, the hotel on Yaroslaviv Val boasts an occupancy percentage in the mid-50s.

Luxury hotels are not the only ones catering to business visitors.

Economy Ibis Sold Out

International economy hotel chain Ibis opened its 212-room, three star hotel in central Kyiv in 2011. On some nights this fall, visitors found that no rooms were available at the hotel on Taras Shevchenko, near the Botanical Garden. In coming weeks, a second Ibis will open in Kyiv, near the southern entrance to Kyiv’s main rail sation. Two more Ibis hotels are to open here by 2020.

While the business traveler market revives, Kyiv’s economy also needs tourists. Managers at both the Hilton and Radisson hotels note that Europe’s leisure travel boom has not yet spread to Kyiv.

“They are still scared,” Henriksen noted. “Kyiv needs to clean up its image before the tourists will come.


For comments and story ideas, please contact UBJ Correspondent Mark Satter at marksatter@theubj.com


Posted Nov. 13, 2017

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