Due to the high volume of calls our office has received regarding the current situation in Ukraine, and given that I was recently in the Ukraine leading AFA's February singles tour, I wanted to offer my thoughts on how the current situation has impacted A Foreign Affair and our travel/tours to the country. As many of you know, we have several offices and a number of employees and partners located in Ukraine.
First, I would like to say that we were all deeply sadden by the loss of life that occurred and of course all of our thoughts and prayers go out to the families who lost loved ones. I don't intend to attempt to delve into a political analysis or speculate as to what may or may not happen in the future. Things are changing in Ukraine on a daily basis, and the country is doing its best to stabilize and move forward in a positive and united way. As with any change of this magnitude, there will always be uncertainty, confusion, and even turmoil, especially when a country's entire government is suddenly and dramatically changed. Protests are not new to the Ukraine, we experienced a similar though less serious movement with the Orange Revolution of 2004/05. During that time there was also great uncertainty and political unrest but the country moved forward, as I believe will again be the case. Political redefinition is a slow and sometimes painful process, however, and Ukraine's way out of this will take time and there will be uncertainty.
How does all of this affect A Foreign Affair, our travel plans and our clients? As I mentioned, I was the tour leader for our February Kiev/Poltava tour. That tour was virtually like any other tour we've done in that the socials were fantastic with about 220 women attending in Kiev and about 180 or so in Poltava. The women were wonderful, very interested in meeting the men and there were several strong connections. Obviously the political issues had no negative effect on the socials or the tour whatsoever. Keep in mind the population of the Ukraine is about 45 million people. The vast majority of those people simply want to get on with their daily lives, we saw that when we were there in February. If you were not in the square where the political protests were taking place you would have had no idea that there was any political conflict at all. The media is obviously going to focus on the epicenter of activity, or the most troubled spots; they are not going to show the majority areas of the city or the country which are absolutely normal. As I said the two Socials that we hosted were excellent and we had no problem arranging dates throughout the tour in both Kiev and Poltava. The shops, cafes, restaurants, hotels, offices were all open and operating as usual. Unless you walked to the square, which was about a 15 minute walk from our hotel, you would never know anything special was going on.
Since our February tour there has been substantial changes, however, and we are in constant contact with all of our offices and affiliate offices in the Ukraine. We look forward to our April Ukrainian tours and to executing the rest of the 2014 tour schedule and we anticipate no issues or problems. Whenever traveling internationally, you do need to use caution. Considering what has been going on in the Ukraine, we believe it is much better and safer to travel with a group as opposed to just going on your own to the country. The State Department has issued a travel warning for anyone travelling to the Ukraine, they have issued similar warnings in the past for Colombia, Russia, Thailand and other countries as well. If you cannot make a group tour of some kind we would highly recommend taking advantage of our individualized Euro-Club tours, where our local office will work with you every day and take care of all your logistic needs while introducing you to numerous possible matches. We are more than happy to talk to you directly about any concerns or issues you may have concerning travel to the Ukraine. You can reach us at (602) 553-8178, just dial 0 for the operator and let him or her know that you would like to speak to someone concerning Ukrainian travel.
The Ukraine is certainly struggling with major change and we all hope and pray that the change is positive and moves the country forward and the sacrifices that were made were not made in vain. I for one love the Ukraine; Kiev is one of the most historic and beautiful cities in the world. I also love Odessa, which is nestled on the banks of the Black Sea. But most of all I love the people of Ukraine, their friendliness, their cheerful disposition, and their resilient character to move forward in the face of daunting circumstances for a new and better life. I am excited about our singles tours this year to the Ukraine, as well as for all of you who have already signed up and those of you who will join us. I for one can't wait to get back over to Ukraine!