How your vacation can help Ukrainians | European holidays

British holidaymakers keen to help locals Ukraine are encouraged to book with travel agencies that use their resources to support those fleeing conflict.

Dozens of transport providers, tour operators and accommodation websites have swung into action. Eurostar offers unlimited free tickets to Ukrainians traveling from any Eurostar station to the UK, while Wizz Air will provide 100,000 free places on flights from neighboring countries of Ukraine to any available destination.

Airbnb provides short-term accommodation for 100,000 refugees and calls for more hosts to donate beds, more donationswhile an unofficial social media campaign saw thousands of users Airbnbs booking in Ukraine as a way to bring money to people there, with Airbnb waiving fees.

A new organization Hospitality for Ukrainelaunched last week, encourages actors in the hotel sector to offer free accommodation to refugees: 220 hosts have registered so far in 19 countries.

“We view this campaign as long-term support, which is why we continue to encourage accommodation providers to sign up,” said co-founder Charlotte Hall.

Likewise Hospitality helps connects refugees with hotels willing to provide free rooms in European cities, and Every bed helpscreated by the Alliance of Serviced German Apartments Provider, covers cities across Germany, as well as Switzerland, the Netherlands and Scandinavia.

Residents of Kaunas, Lithuania, show their support for Ukraine. Photography: Martynas Plepys

Other businesses focus on fundraising. Hosting Specialist Sawday’s and its brand of glamping canopy and stars donates 5% of March earnings internationally Choose Love Ukraine Crisis Fundraiser. “As a business, and as consumers and holidaymakers, we believe we have a duty to help in any way we can, donating as individuals, but also choosing to book holidays with companies we trust,” said CEO Mike Bevens.

The Fred Olsen ferry and cruise line is crowdfunding to deliver donation trucks in Ukraine, while adventure operators Explore – which expected to send 250 customers to Ukraine this year – and Intrepid are raising money for the Red Cross. Explore, which says it was the first operator to pull out of Russia following the invasion, said it received emails from customers pledging to stick with its response.

Aito, which represents dozens of independent travel companies in the UK, said most of its members help out, whether donating money or collecting goods. “The best way for UK holidaymakers to help is to keep travelling,” spokeswoman Sue Ockwell said. “If the economy in Britain and Europe is healthy, governments will be able to continue to impose sanctions on Russia and starve the war for funds.”

Others take more immediate action. Anika and Jon Kroghadventure operator founders Nomadic Greenland, have set aside work to drive minibuses between their home in Denmark and Ukrainian border crossings in Poland. So far they have rescued 84 women and children.

“Through our work in the tourism industry, we know how to move people from A to B quickly and efficiently – and can find the right people for a task, which has helped our mission,” said Anika, adding that those helping on the streets, train stations and refugee centers seemed to be mainly small groups of volunteers, rather than large NGOs.

Whether British travelers could also help more directly by visiting countries close to Ukraine is unclear. The economic boost from tourism would certainly be beneficial, but if the Foreign Office does not currently warn against travel – except for Ukraine, Transnistria and Belarus – travelers will naturally be cautious and an impact on reservations is already being felt.

Last week, Jet2 canceled all flights to Poland for two months due to falling demand. Regent Holidayswhich has been selling trips to Ukraine for 25 years and is Fund raising for its Ukrainian guides and partners, said canceled reservations to Ukraine, Russia, Belarus and Moldova were being refunded or changed, and that it had noticed a “slowdown in inquiries for the Baltics”, some travelers passing through Iceland or Scandinavia.

Dorota Wojciechowska, Director of Polish Tourist Board in the UK and Ireland, said: “If British travelers want to help Poland, they shouldn’t cancel their trips. Going on vacation to Poland, they help the country that helps Ukraine. The country remains safe. Tourism has not been impacted.

Some may want to travel to the East Europe to volunteer. “Volunteering holidays are, especially now, a fantastic idea,” Wojciechowska said. “Krakow and Warsaw offer many opportunities for tourists and volunteers.

The website has links to organizations looking for volunteers there. And travelers were able to attend events in support of the creation of Ukraine in many cities of Eastern Europe. Kaunas, Lithuania, which is one of European Capitals of Culture 2022replaces its Festival of Happiness project with a series of Events related to Ukraine, and will donate profits from merchandise sales. In the country’s capital, Vilnius, the Energy and Technology Museum donates all proceeds from ticket sales to CultureUkraine.

Comments are closed.