Jokes lampooning greed as a
feature of Ukrainian character are popular in the former Soviet
republic and some hoteliers in the Euro 2012 co-host nation are
living up to the stereotype, hiking prices 10-fold for the
A three-star hotel in central Kiev normally charging 106
euros per night will raise the price to 1,211 euros for
the night of the final on July 1, according to tourism website
In the semi-final venue of Donetsk, the cheapest hotel
charges 215 euros per night.
Price hikes have sparked an emotional reaction from Michel
Platini, the president of European football's ruling body UEFA
having blasted overcharging hoteliers as "bandits and swindlers"
earlier this month.
The government, which expects at least one million fans to
visit Ukraine, is trying to curb hoteliers with anti-trust
investigations and a planned deal with a low-cost airline that
officials say will offer $300 return trips from London.
"I think this will cool the ardour of our hotels," deputy
Prime Minister Borys Kolesnikov has said.
Hoteliers hit back by saying they will adjust prices based
on demand rather than the desires of the government or UEFA.
"We think demand has yet to peak," said Viktor Denisov,
manager of a small Kiev hotel.
"Germans of course want to book everything in advance but
Russians will start calling after the holidays [May 1 and May 9]
so the boom is yet to come."
Many Kiev citizens are jumping on the bandwagon and renting
out their apartments. Prices for single-room flats start from
$150 per night during the group matches.
Those who are not ready to spend hundreds of euros on
accommodation may have to turn to other options such as tent
camps or makeshift hostels set up at university campuses.
One such facility, FanPlaza, is a huge industrial facility
normally used for commercial purposes.
Guests can stay in rooms set up as a weird cross between
offices and military barracks - 20-square-metre blocks of space
separated by cubicle walls, each furnished with four bunk beds,
two cabinets, a table and a couple of chairs.
Prices at the makeshift hostel start at 45 euros per night.
In an attempt to salvage Ukraine's image, a group have set
up rooms4free.org.ua, a website where travellers and property
owners can negotiate free-of-charge accommodation.
"We don't care how many [deals are set up], what matters to
us is improving the perception of our country," said organiser
Some entrepreneurs, though, care little about bad publicity.
"I am greedy and I am not going to explain anything," said
Igor, the owner of a small Kharkiv hostel that will charge 100
euros per night for a double room during the championship, up
from 20 euros.
"Take it or leave it."
Euro 2012, co-hosted by Poland, kicks off on June 8.
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