Does Euro 2012 make you want to go to Poland & Ukraine?

Right now Poland and Ukraine are currently hosting the UEFA Euro 2012 Championships. As someone who’s job revolves around travel and trying to help and inspire people to travel to new and exciting places for them, events such as Euro 2012 are always encouraging to see. That and football (soccer) is my favourite sport. If only Scotland would qualify for a tournament and I’d be even happier, but I think that may just be a distant dream…

Poland and Ukraine have obviously been in the spotlight in the build up and during this competition so far. Ukraine especially. With speculation of human rights abuses appearing in the country such as the claims made by former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko (who went on hunger strike after claiming she was beaten by guards whilst in prison and who claims that her imprisonment is purely political.) The games are not necessarily acting as a walking advertisement for Ukraine right now. This is especially so seeing these claims and concerns have been echoed by some prominent politicians in Western European countries.

Poland also hasn’t appeared as a glowing example since the competition began. They hit the headlines in the past few days for gang violence which dominated the centre of Warsaw by both Polish and Russian fans. All attacks appeared random, i.e. targeting random supporters of the opposing team, and broadcasters such as the BBC have reported that much of it appears organised by Polish gangs.

Still, with all the above in mind, Euro 2012 is bringing a lot of people from all over Europe to cities they may not have visited otherwise. The Polish cities of Warsaw, Wroclaw, Poznan, and Gdansk will be playing host to games this tournament, as will the Ukrainian cities of Kiev, Donetsk, Lviv, and Kharkiv. Even as someone who travels a lot there’s a few cities in there that I’d never heard of prior to the games, and despite the bad press Ukraine in particular has received at the moment, I do find myself intrigued by the country. It is somewhere I’d like to visit. The question is, do you feel the same?

I’m someone who travels for a living. Give me a couple city names that I haven’t heard of, an interesting political scene, a vast history, and my appetite has already been whetted to go and see for myself what’s going on there, what’s it like on the streets. But the truth is I’m not normal. I travel most of months of the year, and there are only a handful of people that I know personally who travel full-time like me too. Most people aren’t like this.

Will the Euro’s bring more people to Poland and Ukraine? I guess they already have just with the tournament itself and all the supporters, teams, and delegates who have already went to Poland for the games.  What interests me more is the long-term effect. Has this put Poland or Ukraine in your thoughts for future trips? Has the negative press put you off, or do you prefer not to listen to the media and make your own mind up?

I’d be interested to hear your thoughts in the comments below or on twitter @runawayjane?

– If you liked this article you may also be interested in reading about my First Impressions of Warsaw in a previous post.



5 Responses to “Does Euro 2012 make you want to go to Poland & Ukraine?”

  1. Mark says:

    It is not a country I would have even thought about before, but it is somewhere that is now on my radar.

  2. Irina says:

    It’s funny – I just did a post on why Ukraine is a great place to go. From certain perspective, it’s a better travel choice than Russia which is on many people’s bucket list. I personally strongly advocate for both Ukraine and Poland (even though I’m Russian).

  3. Poland is an interesting place to go to normally, the Euro 2012 actually gives me less reason to go. I prefer it being nice and quiet.


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