European football championship EURO 2012 kicked off over a week ago and Ukraine has already hosted ten games. Despite the warnings of British newspapers, foreign football visitors coming to Ukraine have seen nothing but a holiday of football and friendly people.
"This country, from the people point of view, is one of the nicest places I’ve ever been to," England national team supporter Peter Tolen told The Guardian. "People are friendlier than I thought they would be," said Robbin Falkenstrom from Sweden.
Numerous fans from the Netherlands flooded the Eastern Ukrainian city of Kharkiv where their national team played three matches at the renovated Metalist stadium. Some 20,000 Dutch fans participated in a march through Kharkiv’s main streets and to the stadium. On the way the procession halted to sing Ukraine’s national anthem "Ukraine Has Not Perished Yet". One of the supporters accompanied the anthem with a trumpet. Notably, during the match between the Netherlands and Germany on June 13 Kharkiv fan-zone was filled to its fullest capacity of over 50,000 visitors.
While supporting their national team, Dutch fans also support the Ukraine team, according to Vinfred Viches, the representative of the Fan Association of the Kingdom of Netherlands. "I want to tell the entire world that they have got to visit Kharkiv and Ukraine," concluded Viches.
On Khreshchatyk, Kyiv main street, Swedish supporters wearing yellow and blue blend in with Ukrainian fans draped in similar colors. French supporters also start filling Kyiv Maydan Nezalezhnosti (Independent Sq.) – the country’s main fan-zone. "Independence Square …is now a giant UEFA fan-zone, with big-screens, beer tents, table football and German sausages," reports The Guardian. On June 11, the match day between Ukraine and Sweden, over 100,000 fans visited the fan-zone.
EURO host-cities adopted English signs and announcements in metro and other means of local transportation; downtown areas feature maps and English-speaking volunteers who offer help with directions. "Many people don’t speak English, but they try so hard and that is really great," said James Dillon from Great Britain.
All host cities provide free sightseeing tours. In Kyiv alone foreign visitors have a chance to enjoy the views of beautiful Saint Sophia and Saint Michael cathedrals, Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra, numerous green parks and other well-known tourist destinations.
Theodore is the Co-Founder and Managing Editor of TravelDailyNews Media Network; his responsibilities include business development and planning for TravelDailyNews long-term opportunities.