This country is Ukraine. Rich historical heritage as well as the UEFA European Football Championship EURO 2012 attracted tourists to the Eastern European country. A total of 23 million tourists visited Ukraine in 2012 and spent USD 4.8 billion.
Cultural wealth, the warmth of the people, and the fact that travelers can live large for under USD 50 a day lure the tourists in, reckons Christine Sarkis of Smarter Travel, popular tourism portal. In the website's rating Ukraine became number one destination to visit while it's still cheap.
While the capital city Kyiv remains one of the most expensive places to visit in Ukraine, its other gems, like western cities of Lviv and Kamianets-Podilskyi, offer cheap accommodation and meals.
Comparably, a night at Kyiv's 3* hotel will cost about USD 100, while Lviv offers decent lodging for USD 50. An average lunch in the Ukrainian capital will cost about USD 15, in Lviv - 7.
While Kyiv offers spectacular city tours, during which its guests visit such World Heritage sites as Saint Sophia Cathedral and Kyiv Pechersk Lavra - including the tour around the ancient monastery's caves, - Lviv has its own amazing attractions. Lviv's historic center is one of Ukraine's World Heritage sites, protected by UNESCO. Just in June 2013, the western Ukrainian city became the number 1 destination in the Top 10 European Cities to See Now list by the VirtualTourist.
In 2012, EURO 2012 attracted hundreds of thousands of football fans to Ukraine and the competition co-host Poland. Moreover, the international sports event prompted numerous infrastructure improvements in Ukraine - complete with four new airports in major cities and hundreds of new hotels, - making the country even more attractive for tourists. Following the championship, the country was listed among the top 10 destinations for 2013 by six international tourism ratings, including Globe Spots, National Geographic, Trip Advisor, and Lonely Planet.
Notably, in 2012, Ukraine demonstrated one of the highest receipts growth by an emerging economy - 13 percent.