24 April 2010

A busy week in Kyiv

I receive many invitations each week to attend some event, party, launch, seminar or meeting in Kyiv. This past week I attended a few and was particularly impressed by the big launch party organised by the famous British company – Quintessentially. They opened in Kyiv with a party at the Buddha Bar in the city centre. I estimate there must have been about 300 people including celebrities like Andrey Shevchenko and Vladimir Klitschko who enjoyed this big free party. My only concern is, I think they did not get the message across to the people as to WHAT they will actually do in Ukraine?. It was the usual Kyiv glitzy set which always includes many stunningly beautiful women. The party included a fashion show sponsored by Favorit Health Club.
Many first time visitors to Kyiv are shocked by the seemingly extravagance of many events. (Recession? What recession?)

Thursday, I attended a reception meeting for HRH The Duke of York (Prince Andrew) organised by the British Embassy in Ukraine. It was a great opportunity for HRH to get a feel for what we Brits think about doing business in Ukraine and what are the opportunities as he was meeting the new President of Ukraine the next day.

It’s not easy doing business in Ukraine but there are still many opportunities for those who have a strong will to survive. Earlier in the week I met Valeriya Machkova, a woman who describes herself as an ‘interpreter’ on her business card. But I discovered she has developed a small niche in the medical tourism business. Valeriya takes care of visitors from Arab countries (she speaks fluent Arabic, English and German). She has no web site or promotional materials and all her business is via ‘word of mouth’ from previous Arab clients. She introduces people to the many low cost clinics in Kyiv and other parts of Ukraine where people can still receive excellent medical treatment for a small fraction of the cost in western Europe. I think maybe Ukraine could be ready for more medical tourists.

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