UNESCO says $9 billion needed to revive Ukraine tourism, culture sectors

FILE PHOTO: Lithuanian musician Mazintas plays a piano in front of the destroyed Central House of Culture in Irpin

(This Feb. 13 story has been corrected to make clear that UNESCO had analysed damage to 340 buildings, rather than total of 340 buildings damaged, in paragraph 5)

PARIS (Reuters) - Ukraine will need $9 billion over 10 years for its culture and tourism sectors to recover, the United Nations' cultural agency said on Tuesday, adding that the two-year war had so far cost the country over $19.6 billion in tourism revenue.

Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24, 2022 triggered the deadliest conflict in Europe since World War Two, with no sign of an end to the war in sight.

"The damage continues to increase and the needs for the sector's recovery continue to grow," Krista Pikkat, director of culture and emergencies at UNESCO, told reporters, adding that the lost revenue to the capital Kyiv alone was $10 billion.

In an assessment ahead of the war's two year anniversary, the UNESCO estimated the cost of damage to cultural property at about $3.5 billion, up 40% from 2023.

It said it had analysed damage to 340 buildings, including museums, monuments, libraries and religious sites.

"International solidarity will be essential to meeting these needs," the report said. "The implementation of risk prevention measures and the support for the creative industries are also important levers to reduce the estimated long-term impact of the war."

(Reporting by Elizabeth Pineau; writing by John Irish; Editing by Ros Russell)