Posted by Dan on April 25, 2000 at 14:34:31:
In Reply to: Re: silly visa & letter posted by R.J.'s Tours Ltd on April 25, 2000 at 12:08:02:
I've had to endure the inconvenience of acquiring visas for travel to a variety of countries, including India, Indonesia, Korea and others. Not all require visas for short visits like Ukraine, but for my business, I needed to acquire a visa and have seen some of the best and worst. Speaking explicitly to the subject of *tourist* visas, I have to agree with the group clamoring for relief on the Ukrainian visa requirement. To my mind, there is a compelling economic need to get rid of the tourist visa as follows:
* Ukraine wishes to establish several of it's locations as tourist destinations to attract tourist $$. Crimea and the Carpathian mountains are 2 such attractions - among others.
To the extent Ukraine wishes to promote tourism, it needs to recognize some competitive realities and those are that neighboring countries are also promoting tourism and do NOT require the expense and inconvenience of a tourist visa. This requirement results in competitive *dis*advantage to Ukraine and it robs them of needed inflow of $$.
While it's true that countries normally exercise a policy of tit-for-tat with visa requirements (evidence the situation in Germany just a few years back), at some point, one or the other country has to take the first step to warm relations.
Ukraine is certainly in an awkward situation of trying to balance between it's obvious need to keep it's largest and most powerful neighbor (Russia) happy, and yet continue to evolve to a closer relationship with western countries in Europe and the US. The delicacy of this balancing act cannot be over-stated. Still, if Ukraine is to break out of the shadow of it's towering neighbor and begin to enjoy the fruits of it's enormous potential - then it is necessary for it's leadership to begin to cautiously and deliberately demonstrate an interest in warming relations with the west - and one way would be to eliminate the visa requirement and the OVIR registration requirement.
Just my views and others are free to disagree.
: I found the comments on this subject to be too one sided. Ever try inviting a Ukrainian citizen to Canada or the U.S.? Well they have a much bigger problem visiting these countries than we have visiting Ukraine.
: The U.S. and Canada have all kinds of conditions that must be met over and above a visa and invitation.
: Has anyone ever tried to invite a young lady to visit the west, if so then you know that it can be nearly impossible. Yet an young lady from the west has virtually no problem vsiting Ukraine except for the need of an invitation and visa, which are both easy to get, the only problem is the paperwork and few dollars to secure it.
: Ukraine has to impose controls on who enters and leaves the country and what they are bringing in and taking out. You must remember they have a problem with smuggling and the such.
: As a third generation Canadian with Ukrainian roots I am glad that they are now at least striving to be a democracy. In the west we have lived under a democratic system for many many years, in Ukraine only 9 years. We take it for granted, in Ukraine It is still evolving and adjusting.
: As one Ukraine citizen once told me, "under the communist system our life was tough, under democracy our life is still tough....but at least now I can say and think what I want."
: Back to the original question: Our rules and regulations are tougher than theirs. Hmmm?
: Robert J. Tomkins
: R.J.'s Tours Ltd
: : I think it would be a nice gesture on Ukraine's part if it would drop the visa requirement and invitation letter. I have been to Ukraine and would love to return, but the silly bureacratic hoops that one has to jump through discourages me from returning. Americans travel freely throughout Europe using only their passports (except in Russia, Belarus and Ukraine--Ukraine deserves better company than those two bears).
: : I was once at the Ukrainian consulate in G'dansk, and while I was there waiting for my visa a Chinese man came in and wanted to visit western Ukraine. He was traveling around parts of eastern Europe, but he was refused a visa because he did not have a letter of invitation. A missed opportunity: He would have spent money on food, lodging, and transportation, not to mention the fact that he would probably encourage others to visit as well. Instead, he probably told others (he was a visiting instructor at a university in G'dansk) how backward Ukraine sometimes behaves.
: : How many other similar experiences have occurred? It adds up to lost revenue and positive word of mouth.
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