Lviv Is the Pearl and the Soul of Ukraine

emerging europe ukraine

Read the Outlook on Ukraine special report

.

Lviv is the important cultural, economic and scientific centre of western Ukraine. Its architectural charm and cultural heritage have earned the city the nickname, Pearl of Ukraine. It is also a modern city that is looking towards a bright future thanks to the development of the IT sector.

Andriy Sadovyi, Mayor of Lviv, spoke to Andrew Wrobel about his city’s key sectors, his future vision for the city and the amazing ambiance that makes Lviv a must-see on the European tourist map.

Andriy Sadovyi (courtesy of Lviv City Hall)
Andriy Sadovyi (courtesy of Lviv City Hall)

First of all, I would like to briefly circle back to our previous meeting, in March, in Cannes. I remember you said Lviv has this irreplaceable ambiance and back then I thought ‘okay, every mayor says the same about their city’ but it seems that it is true. I have visited Ukraine, and Kyiv in particular, and the two cities seem completely different.

Well, I would say that Kyiv is the heart of Ukraine and Lviv is the soul of the country — you can transplant the heart but not the soul.

Where does this special atmosphere in Lviv come from?

If you look back a hundred years you’ll see that the city was part of six different countries and this means that there are people of different nationalities and different religions living here peacefully, side by side. There are around 170,000 students in 38 higher education institutions so Lviv is also a young city, even though having said that, the city celebrated its 760th anniversary, this year. All together this helps to create this fantastic atmosphere.

I think tourists see that. Last year, the city had two million visitors. Tourism and IT are the leading sectors in the city but let’s look at tourism. How do you attract visitors to the city?

Let me show you the big picture here. The first thing we started doing was promoting the city to its residents. This is because when one comes to a city and sees that its residents love it and that they are positive about it, one realises that there is something interesting about the city.

I came to City Hall at the time when Lviv was celebrating its 750th anniversary. We immediately created a logo with five towers and a slogan — Lviv, open to the world! Our next stage was to promote Lviv in other Ukrainian cities and this has continued until now — in fact the majority of our tourists are from Ukraine.

Cityscape - Old buildings in Lvov Ukraine

We haven’t started promoting the city in Europe. As you know, Ukraine is facing a difficult moment in its history, as part of its territory is occupied and this is not something that attracts tourists. So I’d say Lviv is the last undiscovered city in Europe and that the people who come here for the first time fall in love with Lviv. The city is beautiful, it has the amazing ambiance that we have already mentioned, the food is great and the prices are very low.

We are hoping that Ryanair will start direct flights to Lviv, next year, and we will do our best to provide the best service possible for those who come. We want those visitors to tell their friends about Lviv. By the way, do you like jazz?

Absolutely!

Cassandra Wilson, Wynton Marsalis, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Charles Lloyd and many many other have performed here at the Alfa Jazz Fest, which is held every June. The Guardian rated the event as one of the top five festivals in Europe.

This is not the only event that takes place in the city. There is a classical music festival, an IT Forum, a media forum and plenty of other events.

Speaking more generally, people always look for new things. We offer quality products at a low price. Another important aspect is safety — Lviv is much safer than many European cities. People see that to the point where sometimes hotels have no rooms available.

When we first started negotiating with Ryanair, a few years ago, we talked about an additional 500,000 passengers a year.

The City Hall has set out a target of eight million visitors per year. Isn’t that rather too much when compared to the current two million? 

Well, we understand it is more than we can handle at the moment and it is not a target that is easy to reach. I would like each person that arrives in the city to taste Lviv, to experience all its flavours. 

Next year we’re planning to open an Intercontinental hotel in the city. Other international hotel chains, such as Radisson and Marriott, are in the process of signing their franchise agreements.

So what opportunities do you see for foreign investors in the tourist sector?

I see more new hotels, new restaurants, a congress centre and an exhibition centre opening.

So I understand you would like to see more international conferences and events taking place in the city?

We already organise a lot of such events but our next step is to hold even more of them. I have already said that we can offer high quality at a very competitive cost.

We are aware that we still need to learn, which is why we are networking; we belong to international organisations in order to use the experiences of others. Within the last few years, there have been some 30,000 new jobs in tourism created in the city, something which proves the enormous potential of the sector in Lviv.

We haven’t discussed IT yet. That is another sector that is booming here, isn’t it?

It is. There are 140 IT companies and the number of new jobs in IT is growing at 20 per cent per year. The sector accounts for some 14 per cent of all business activity in Lviv and it is bound to go up even higher. Increasingly, there are more and more IT specialist in the city. Young people are coming here from other Ukrainian cities, as life is comfortable here and it is close to the European Union. It is mostly outsourcing at the moment but there are more and more start-ups.

Lviv, Ukraine - February 23, 2015 Public Transport Train Downtown Lviv

Of course, this didn’t originate from nothing. Science and engineering have always been popular and very well advanced in Lviv thanks to the university and the polytechnics. We are facing a staffing challenge in city hall as it is hard to keep employees here because everyone wants to work for an IT company. Salaries in the IT sector are growing. They are now at a similar level to neighbouring Poland but our costs of living are significantly lower.

I would like to come back to foreign investors again. What is the city doing, now, to attract more FDI?

We are making use of all the possible methods: personal contacts, conferences, networking, bilateral chambers of commerce, etc.

I would also like to emphasise that the Lviv’s economy is based on the dynamic development of a large number of small and medium businesses. There are about 10,000 small and medium firms in the city, which cover more than 65 per cent of the city’s total production. There are competitive opportunities in many sectors including: logistics, food processing, equipment and machine building, the financial sector, textiles, pharmaceuticals, the wood and paper industry, metal and plastic production, tourism and hospitality etc.

You have said there are 170,000 students in Lviv. How would you describe the labour market in the city?

I am still not completely happy with the level of education that our students gain at our universities. For example, the IT sector collaborates with universities because they want to make sure they will have highly specialised future employees. But there are other areas, for example manufacturing, that need qualified manual workers. That is why we are reforming our vocational schools.

We, at city hall, are interested in providing investors with the necessary and qualified labour force but we would also like our workers to earn more. Higher salaries translate into a higher income for the city and a higher budget means more future investment, including in infrastructure.

There is still a lot of work required in the city but we have also done a lot: we have a new airport and a stadium. I run the Union “Self Reliance” party, but I have stayed in the city instead of going on to the parliament, in order to continue the work.

Andriy Sadovyi (courtesy of Lviv City Hall)
Andriy Sadovyi (courtesy of Lviv City Hall)

That proves your commitment and belief in the city, doesn’t it?

This city is already a success. Coming to Lviv is in fashion and I want to show Ukrainians that everything is possible and that I believe we can repeat the success in other cities and in the entire country, as much as it is possible taking the circumstances into account.

So how do you see the city in ten years’ time?

The city is amongst the leading European cities such as Barcelona, Prague and Vienna. It is modern and safe. It is governed by the same rules that are observed across the European Union, whether we are a member of the Bloc or not. We used to be part of Galicia, together with Cracow in Poland, and I would love to have more visitors than the Polish city. I am joking, of course. But speaking seriously, I see how much they have achieved since Poland joined the EU. We haven’t had that opportunity.

RELATED ARTICLES

Bosnia and Herzegovina: Focussing on Stability and Business Climate

Sarajevo Bosnia and Herzegovina - August 23 2015. View of Miljacka River in Sarajevo city

Ukrainian Venture Investment Market Is Immature and Needs Growth

Effective Policies Have Strengthened the Georgian Economy

TBILISI GEORGIA Jul. 18 2017: Bridge of Peace is a bow-shaped pedestrian bridge a steel and glass construction over the Kura River in downtown Tbilisi capital of Georgia

Poland’s Business Experience Makes it a Good Neighbour to Ukraine

Start Making Connections for the Opportunities Ukraine is Currently Offering

Kharkiv region Ukraine - July 29 2016: Combine harvests wheat on a field in Kharkiv region Ukraine on July 29 2016

Ukraine’s Gas Industry Risks Stagnation Without Investment

SEE Link — Sharing SEE Europe’s Hopes for a Brighter Investment Future

Steps to Stability Marred by a Failure to Attract FDI

More Brexit Fears As the UK Proves To Be A Needed Member

City of London view from Waterloo Bridge. This view includes: St. Paul`s Cathedral The Gherkin Tower 42 and Blackfriars Bridge.

Anti-corruption Efforts Are the Starting Point for Further Reforms

Finalising the DCFTA is Expected to Bring Multiple Benefits to Ukraine

Changes Are Making Ukrainian Banking More Aligned with International Standards

SMEs Should Play an Important Role in the Economy and Export Development

Ukraine and Canada: A History of Settlement and a Future for Investment

Nadiya Savchenko: I Dream of a Great Ukraine

Panorama of the top part of the Andrew's Descent from Castle Hill in springtime in Kiev Ukraine.

Estcoin: Estonia’s Own Digital Currency?

1 euro coin money (EUR) currency of European Union Estonia over blue background

After Economic Shocks Armenia Plans for Macroeconomic Stability

yerevan armenia minister of finance

Ukraine to Restart Privatisation to Realise Profits

Pricatisation electricity ukraine

Governmental Support is Vital to Fight Corruption

Hungary Today: Potential and Challenge

Chain bridge on Danube river in Budapest city. Hungary. Urban landscape panorama with old buildings and domes of opera

Investigations Into the Corrupt Ukrainian Fuel and Energy Sectors

Ukrainian money hryvnia. The national currency. Corruption in Ukraine

Danish companies Support and Assist Ukraine’s Economic Transition

President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko and Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Denmark Lars Lokke Rasmussen during a meeting in Kiev Ukraine

PE and VC Investment In CEE Is At an Eight-Year High

venture capital

Thinking Big; Working Hard; Delivering Value to Clients and Building Relationships

quartsoft emerging europe outsourcing

Legal Reforms are Improving the Existing Problematic Situation in the Ukrainian Agro Market

ukraine agriculture

Albania’s Construction Sector Supports the Country’s Growth

SARANDA, ALBANIA - MAY 18: View of the city Saranda, most important tourist attraction of the Albanian Riviera on May 18, 2017 in Saranda, Albania.

FocusEconomics: Predicting an Increase for the Ukrainian Economy

Lech Wałęsa: Hard Options Can Force Nations to Get Down to Work

The Political Economy of Independent Ukraine: Late Starts, False Starts, and Last Chance?

Macedonia — Stepping Out Of the Shadow Of the Balkans

Military Operations in Ukraine Have Had Some Surprisingly Positive Side Effects for Modern Businesses

Night city reflection on the river in Donetsk. Ukraine

Ukraine’s Pro-change Atmosphere Says “Welcome!”

lviv emerging europe

Croatian Salaries Are Growing in Line With Other CEE Countries

Dubrovnik Croatia emerging europe

Ukraine Continues to Make Waves as an IT Outsourcing Destination

A Very Good Prospect for Future Biogas Development

The Eurovision Song Contest Is a Perfect Showcase for Ukraine’s Talent and Warmth

Prospering Czechia Still Needs a Bigger Workforce

prague emerging europe

Naftogaz: A Good Start Has Slowed But Optimism Remains High

Closeup of pressure meter on natural gas pipeline with people on the background

Poland’s Business Constitution Must Be Finalised

Front of finance ministry in Warsaw Poland with a fountain framing the entrance. Could be used for images about Euro currency problems

Digital Business Space Gives All Businesses an Office in Sarajevo

Sarajevo Bosnia and Herzegovina - August 24 2015. View from Vraca Memorial Park with building of Avaz Twist Tower

World Bank: Brexit Hides Greater Challenges to the European Union and the CEE Region

Latvia Urged Not to Increase Expenditure As Economy Grows

Riga, Latvia - August, 2010: Panorama view from Riga cathedral on old town of Riga, Latvia

Ukraine’s Talented Students Are Well Served by Its Diversified Business Relevant Education

ukraine IT

Kyiv’s Mayor Is Used to Fighting to Attract Attention and Interest

KIEV UKRAINE - SEPTEMBER 8 2016: The facade of Kievrada the City Council located in Khreshchatyk Avenue on September 8 in Kiev.

Putin Urges Belarus to End Oil Transit Through Lithuania

Athens Greece - May 27 2016: Russian President Vladimir Putin delivers

Ukraine Outsourcing’s Value is Now in its Technological Expertise and Reliability

A Roadmap for Reform in Ukraine and a Promise of EU Support

The Stalled Conflict in Ukraine Will be Formalised

The Reality in Romania Exposes False Perceptions Of The Country

Jadranka Joksimović: Serbia Takes Its Candidacy of the EU Seriously

bigstock-Joint-Press-Conference-Of-Serb-155400338.jpg

Valga and Valka – Where Estonia and Latvia Work Together

Valga valka emerging europe

Serbia, Belarus and Ukraine Ranked Lowly by Wharton Business School

Kyiv Ukraine - April 172017: The postal square in Kiev on Podol the Dnipro river. view of the square from the river panorama

Ukraine’s NIX Solutions Expands to Israel and Beyond

Business Standards Are High in SEE But Vary Widely

Aerial view of The Cathedral of the Assumption in Varna

Non-Financial Reporting No Longer a Secondary Consideration in CEE

Business Moving Forward with Cautious Optimism — Can Investors Win the Confidence Game?

Poland Is Set To Become a Large Economic Zone

Aerial view over the building materials processing factory. View from above.

From a Small Family Firm to a Top 100 Global Outsourcing Company

Europe’s Breadbasket Offers Opportunities for Investment and Diversification

See the New Ukraine and Benefit From the Best by Partnering or Investing in IT

Engineer proceeding to data recovery from computer

Economy Minister: Internationalisation Is the Key To the Slovenian Economy

Ukrainian Start-up Projects Recognised in the International Market but Still More Investors Needed

Startup Diversity Teamwork Brainstorming Meeting Concept

Meghri Becomes Armenia’s Third FEZ

armenia emerging europe

The Human Factor is Boosting Ukraine’s Promising IT Export Sector

The Ukrainian Banking Sector Looks Set to Regenerate New Growth

CEE Emigrants Could Boost Their Countries’ Economies

Londoners walking through Millennium Bridge with St.Paul's Cathedral at the background after sunset - London, UK

EY: Belarus’ IT Scene Is Thriving

High tech park minsk

The Dilemmas of Ukraine’s Economic Policy

Between the East and West, Geographically and Politically

Ukraine Is Offering Europe Unique Combat and Technological Experience

Do Your Homework First and Starting Business in Poland is Easier

Past Troubles Belie the Opportunities for Investment

Sirin Software — A Ukrainian Firm Conquering Global Markets

Polish Labour Market Deficits Are Impacting All

Construction site with crane and building. Construction site in western europe - in Poland.

Air Passenger Volumes Reach Record High in the Baltics

airbaltic

Lithuania Gives Innovation a StartUp

MILAN ITALY - MAY 2: People visit Lithuania pavilion at Expo universal exposition on the theme of food on MAY 2 2015 in Milan.

Belarus’ Economy Is Slowly Recovering From Past Declines

Ukraine’s Reputation for Cheap Labour May Not Ring True in the Long-term

History as Destiny? Institutional Erosion in Ukraine and Poland

There Is a Move Towards Change in Ukraine

Mayor: Armenia And Its Capital Yerevan Offer Safe Investment And Tourism To a Growing World

European Volatility Makes Economic Development Slower for Ukraine

Longstanding Early Investors Say Ukraine Offers Foreign Manufacturers Great Prospects

ukraine manufacturing

Ukraine’s Economy in 2017 — When Dreams of Growth Meet Geopolitical Reality

Energy Tariff Reform in Ukraine: Estimated Effects and Policy Options

Ukraine’s Q2 Growth Climbs

kyiv ukraine emerging europe

Western Ukraine Could Be an Entry Point into the Country

‘Viking’ is Yet Another Way to Annoy Ukraine

Moldova Launces New e-Procurement System In Search For Positive Change

Photo team work process, holding contract hand, signs documents. Account managers young crew works with startup project.New idea presentation, analyze marketing reports.Blurred, film effect, horizontal.

Falling into Old Ways in 2017? Ukraine’s Struggle for Functioning Economic Institutions

Changes Are Needed in Ukraine’s Economy and Business to Catch up with CEE Growth

Protecting Intellectual Property to Encourage Business Confidence

Maidan Three Years On—What Has Changed for Ukraine?

Chris Lowney — What Jesuit Spirituality Can Teach Us About Global Leadership

21st century Manufacturing Arrives at Great Stone

Great stone

Fitch And the World Bank: Economic Growth To Remain Solid Within CEE In 2016

EconMin: Bulgaria — Number One Outsourcing Destination And an Island of Stability in Europe

Ukrainian Agribusiness — a Jewel in a Crown

Wheat ukraine agriculture ebrd

World Bank’s Doing Business Report 2016 Resume For Emerging Europe

Larisa Manastirli: Where is Bulgaria After Ten Years in the EU?

GE Inaugurates Its New Bucharest Software Centre

Asian Outsource Developer Team Sitting At Desk Working Laptop Computer Mobile Application Software Real Office

The Innovation District IT Park Will Help Lviv Become CEE’s IT Hub

IT park lviv ukraine

Ukraine Is Energy Independent in Some Sectors and Awaiting Change in Others

Romanian Economy Grows Fast in 2017

Brasov cityscape panoramic and aerial view over medieval architecture of Brasov town, in Transylvania Romania

EU Membership and Transition into Market Economies Have Helped CEE Achieve Social Progress

Derek Chollet: There Is a Resurgence of Supporters of the Transatlantic Relationship

white house

Sarajevo Stock Exchange Connected to SEE Link

sarajevo stock exchange

Office Space Remains Available in Kyiv

Kosovo: A Population of Talented Young Entrepreneurs Waits at Europe’s Door

Ukraine’s Tech Sector Is Booming but Needs Awareness and Confidence

ukraine tech emerging europe

Poland’s Q2 2017 Growth Is Stronger Than Expected

WARSAW, POLAND - MAY 07, 2016: Building Palace of Culture and Science among the modern buildings of the city

Doing Business Across Eurasia Could Be Easier

Eurasia emerging europe schneider group

Automotive and Transport Companies Dominate the CEE Region

Car bodies on the production line inside automobile factory

A Risky Evaluation of Croatia’s Economy?

ZAGREB, CROATIA - JULY 17, 2017: Square Ban Josip Jelacic with tourists and trams on a summer day in Zagreb. City of Zagreb is the capital of Croatia.

Denmark in Ukraine: Fostering a Better Business Climate for Both Sides

Ukraine’s Government Declares Ambitious Privatisation Targets

Ukraine’s Banking Sector Reconstruction Brings Asset Sales and Opportunities in Equal Measure

Gavel and Ukrainian hryvnias on a wooden table

Leszek Balcerowicz: Ukraine Can Learn from Poland’s Economic History

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *