The challenges facing the organisers of the 2017 Eurovision Song Contest in Ukraine have been well-documented. Last week the EBU announced that the necessary progress has been made and Kyiv was confirmed as the Host City of the event in 2017. We spoke to Jon Ola Sand, the Executive Supervisor of the Eurovision Song Contest, to find out more about the decision-making process for selecting a Host City and what Ukraine's capital has to offer in 2017.
The Eurovision Song Contest is one of the largest television events in the world and when it comes to selecting a host city, there are a number of considerations. As the contest has grown in size and scale, the importance of the choice of host city has also grown as well. With thousands of fans, journalists and delegates from all over the world attending, a well-connected international airport and the availability of a sufficient number of hotel rooms are equally important as the venue for the show itself. As Jon Ola Sand explains:
"Kyiv has the the infrastructure that is sufficient for the Eurovision Song Contest. It has an international airport, it has a lot of good hotels in different price categories. We've also found a venue that is suitable for the shows but also able to accommodate everything around it such as the press centre and delegation areas. We have found all this in the International Exhibition Centre and that is why we saw this as the ideal combination of location and space".
The safety and security is always of paramount importance for the organisers of the event. "It is our top priority. That's the first issue we raise in every city when we go there for the Eurovision Song Contest. We always ask for broader security guarantees from the government. It is only the authorities in the country that can guarantee security", said Jon Ola Sand.
There will be inevitable comparisons between the shows in 2016 and 2017 as well as between the host cities, this is something that happens every year. As Jon Ola Sand elaborates; "there are always differences between the cities of the Eurovision Song Contest but that's the beauty of it and what I like so much about the Eurovision Song Contest. It can travel to every corner of Europe and every place will add its own colour and develop it further".
In addition to the 2017 Eurovision Song Contest, top attractions in Kyiv include Maidan Nezalezhnosti, the main square in the city where so much recent Ukrainian history was made, St Sophia's Cathedral and the nearby Kyiv Pechersk Lavra monastery. The Ukrainian capital also boasts a wide range of restaurants, bars and cafes to cater for every taste and budget. Kyiv's expansive metro system includes one of the deepest stations in the world, Arsenalna, which is 105.5m below street level and at less than twenty cents for a single journey, it's an affordable and efficient way to travel around the city.