According to a report by UMG International, spending by the Ukrainian government for 2012 UEFA European Football Championship (Euro 2012) has seen a 3.7-fold increase in the building of bridges, overpasses, tunnels and underground facilities, while there has been a 1.6-fold increase in the construction of roads, air-facilities and sports surfaces.
In fact, 83 per cent of all works in this beautiful, busy country is on new construction, reconstruction and technical re-equipments surrounding the prestigious event. UMG also predicts that hosting the competition, along with Poland, will have a positive effect on the country’s image and will attract more foreign investment.
Ukraine’s reputation among the “Big 8” (USA, Japan, Germany, Britain, France, Italy, Canada and Russia) has already increased by 6.7 per cent, according to a recent Reputation Institute study. Forecasts from the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine indicate that Euro 2012 should accelerate GDP growth by 1.5 per cent, while keeping inflation stable.
FIFA gave us a chance to build not just new stadiums,
but a new country.”
President of the Football Federation of Ukraine
Popular support has also been garnered. As Vitaliy Klitschko, former boxer and current party chairman of the Ukrainian Democratic Alliance for Reforms (UDAR), says: “It will promote our country and encourage investment. I was so happy when we won.”
The UMG report shows an overwhelming 80.9 per cent believe Euro 2012 will have a positive impact at home, while 77 per cent feel the event will have a positive effect on image abroad.
Worth noting is that Canada rose to first place in Futurebrand’s 2010 Country Brand Index thanks to hosting the Winter Olympic Games that year.
UEFA’s Euro championships have a track record of positively impacting host countries, not only perception-wise, but also in terms of triggering new revenues. Portugal’s hosting of Euro 2004 improved overall perception by 74 per cent, and 75 per cent of tourists who visited expressed willingness to return. Ukraine currently attracts tourists from Russia, Belarus and Moldova, a host of other post-Soviet nations, with Germany and the USA as the only representatives from developed high-spending nations.
Ukraine intends to leverage the Euro 2012 competition to draw interest from other high-spending nations. To this end, a series of advertising campaigns recently launched on CNN and Euronews that showcase the country’s fascinating 1,000-year history. Joint projects with the Discovery Channel and National Geographic, showing the extraordinary cultural diversity, have also been developed. Media targeting of key foreign markets, strong presence at major tourism expos, and trained foreign language guides are among other key initiatives.
There is also the Discover Ukraine 2012 strategy. This unites the efforts of businesses, public sector organisations, media, destination marketing and communications experts to further showcase the best of Ukraine and to highlight the many steps the country is taking to raise its profile.
One of the project’s key elements is its website: www.discoverukraine2012.org
. The portal has been designed to attract both foreign visitors and investors alike. President of the Football Federation of Ukraine Hryhoriy Surkis – a major driving force behind the event – says: “All those involved in the preparations for Euro 2012 have clearly synchronised their work. The results are really impressive.”Mr Surkis, a Ukrainian businessman and politician listed on Top-100 compilations of the most powerful people in Ukraine, says: “FIFA gave us a chance to build not just new stadiums, but a new country.”
Ukraine is building up not just its infrastructure, but a also new, enviable reputation. Alexander Starchenko, general director of the highly successful KNAUF
Marketing concurs: “British project companies are actively working in Ukraine and we hope that construction and developer companies will also come to this market as objects constructed by British companies are very famous: Disneyland Paris, Hong-Kong’s airport, the Olympic complex in Atlanta, and now Donbass Palace in Ukraine. The ground for investors to come to Ukraine is ready.”
Mr Klitschko adds, “Euro 2012 has the power to change Ukraine. It is a huge opportunity. Many people will watch the championship and many will come to Ukraine. The country is beautiful; the people are friendly and hospitable. It will promote our country a lot and will encourage investment.”