In Ukraine there are a lot of discussions concerning the regional differences between West and East of Ukraine. Recently, I stumbled upon one interesting statistics data which demonstrates how often does Ukrainians travel abroad. Frankly, those stats did not reveal anything new for me, but you may found this data interesting. So, here’s the interactive map of Ukraine divided by 3 regions: West, Center, South-East.
According to this map, western Ukrainians travel abroad the most, which is represented by the smallest fence. Let’s get down to the data: 3.6% of western Ukrainians travel abroad couple of times per year; 5.5% – once a year; 1.9% – once per 2 years; 20.1% – less than once per 2 years; 68.6% has never traveled abroad. In my opinion 68.6% of western Ukrainians who have never traveled abroad is quite a big figure, but we’ll speak about it later.
Now here’s the data from South-East Ukraine: 1.1% of south-east Ukrainians travel abroad couple of times per year; 2.9% – once a year; 1.5% – once per 2 years; 10.9% – less than once per 2 years; 80.4% – never traveled abroad. As you can easily see, the difference is huge comparing with western Ukraine.
Why the amount of population who never traveled abroad is so huge in West as well as in Southern-East? There are couple of answers possible. In my personal opinion, the main reason is the poverty of population. The second reason is the difficulty to obtain Schengen visas. Basically, I think that western Ukrainians travel more than other parts of Ukraine because of geographical proximity of western Ukraine to the European Union, as well as historical particularities.
What is interesting, is that western Ukrainians support Ukraine joining NATO and the EU, while in South-Eastern part of Ukraine the population, basically, support the integration into the European Union but definitely not NATO. In my opinion, that part of population who traveled abroad (especially in the Schengen zone) had the chance to sea a bit the life there and therefore support Ukrainian integration both to NATO and the EU. On the other hand, the population of South and East of Ukraine are more sceptical because they do not travel often abroad and especially to the EU, because geographically closest country for them is Russia.
The introduction and proper implementation of Free visa zone between Ukraine and the European Union will definitely improve things in Ukraine by boosting people-to-people exchanges.