Frank talk with Ivan Rubskyi, head of the Bashtanska amalgamated hromada of the Mykolayiv Oblast, about tourism as revenue source.
By Dmytro Syniak
“My political opponents disdainfully call me a fountain builder and monuments’ opener,” says Ivan Rubskyi. “Indeed, since 2008, when I became head of the Bashtanka Rayon State Administration, I have opened around 30 monuments and memorial plates in the rayon. Monuments help people to look at themselves in another way, to better understand who they are and where they come from. There is also an investment component... For example, Yuriy Bova, head of the Trostianetska AH, once restored a so-called Circular Central Yard – a large historic mansion of the XVIII century, which looks like a fortress. And now a festival of medieval fight “Old Fortress” is held annually in this place. It is difficult to attract tourists to an open field. They need some catches. In Khrystoforivka, a biker festival “Chupakabra” has been held in Arkas’ forest for the past seven years.”
“What was the festival budget?” I ask.
“About UAH 120 thousand, of which about UAH 30 thousand were spent on advertising – on radio and various biker websites.”
For a while, we are looking silently at the monument.
“Here local decommunisators tried to demolish it, but I did not allow it,” Ivan Rubskyi continues. “We addressed historians, and they explained: “Bashtanka residents fought not for the dictatorship of the proletariat, but against the restoration of pre-revolutionary orders. The monument to the sons of the Bashtanka Republic was erected in 1971, and it is a symbol of the eternal aspiration of the Ukrainian peasantry for a decent life on its native land. It does not contain Soviet symbols...”
“Why do you need this monument?” I ask.
“What do you mean by why? This is a real tourist attraction! We can earn on excursions, souvenirs, on the restoration of battle moments... However, we have troubles with our roads, we can even say that there are no roads, but only directions. If the roads were repaired, there would be enough tourists.”
Thousands of tourists, sports competitions, festivals, crowded celebrations... Is all this possible? The experience of other hromadas confirms it. There is just a need in a desire and a drop of luck.
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