How the Travel Industry Supports Ukraine

How the Travel Industry Supports Ukraine

The Russian invasion of Ukraine and the resulting refugee crisis have touched the hearts of millions around the world. Travel agencies and destinations are supporting Ukrainians in the best possible way, opening their hotels and large buildings to refugees and donating hundreds of thousands of dollars to their cause.

When the Russian military advanced on Ukraine on February 24, individual travelers around the world quickly canceled their scheduled flights to Russia, according to ForwardKeys data. The Germans canceled the most flights, with cancellations up 773%, followed by France, Italy, the UK, India and Turkey. Likewise, cruise lines and tour operators quickly canceled all upcoming trips to destinations in Russia.


United Airlines has launched its own fundraising efforts to help transport aid workers and supplies to Ukraine. United MileagePlus members can give money or their miles to the airline’s relief partners, including the American Red Cross, Airlink, Americares and World Central Kitchen. United will match the first 5 million miles donated and an additional $100,000.

“The human tragedy we are witnessing in Ukraine is horrific and has shocked us all, so we are doing our part to quickly help bring aid to people who desperately need help,” United President Brett Hart said. .

“Our partners have been on the ground for over a week and it’s clear they need more resources to fulfill their mission to fly workers and supplies to and from the front lines of this crisis. We are proud to do our part and will continue to look for ways to lend support where needed.”

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Travel giant Airbnb has been one of the most visible travel agencies helping Ukrainian refugees. Its co-founder and CEO Brian Chesky has pledged to welcome 100,000 refugees in countries bordering Ukraine for free through Airbnb, while donating some of his personal wealth to the cause.

According to The Guardian, Airbnb users have also found a new way to donate directly to Ukrainians currently in Ukraine. By purchasing Airbnb stays, travelers around the world can support Ukrainian Airbnb hosts with personal funds.

Collette Tour Operator Foundation, The Collette Foundationpledged $200,000 in aid to humanitarian organizations in Ukraine as well as to its refugees.

“The commitment to making the world a better place through travel has always been Collette’s primary goal. Providing this level of support is at the forefront of why our family chose to create the Foundation and situations like these- these are exactly why we do what we do,” said Jaclyn Leibl-Cote, President of Collette.

The non-profit association of Intrepid Travel, intrepid foundationlaunched a fundraising campaign with the Australian Red Cross, providing an initial donation of $50,000 and covering all administrative costs, so that 100% of its donations received go directly to helping Ukrainian refugees.

Another fundraising campaign was launched on Facebook to provide medical supplies to Ukrainians by three members of the travel community: Jonathan Epstein, CEO of Celebrated Experiences, Javier Echecopar, Sales Director at Abercrombie & Kent and Haisley Smith of Internova Travel Group.

Fundraising, called TravelUnits, aimed to raise $30,000 for Direct Relief. In just three days, he raised over $53,000 and is still open for donations.

Local train and car rental companies are getting in on the action, offering free rides to refugees seeking asylum in countries across Europe, including Poland’s PKP Intercity and Deutsche Bahn, according to Reuters.

Even travel apps are involved: travel booking app Hopper provides $50,000 in booking credit to Ukrainians fleeing the country. Ukrainians can fill out the application hereand each individual will receive $150 in Carrot Cash, the in-app rewards currency, to purchase a home.

A Polish hotel chain, Arch Hotels, provides temporary accommodation to Ukrainian refugees at all of its sixteen sites in Poland. Aneta Zochowska, Executive Director of the Lena Grochowska Foundation, organizes the placement of refugees in Arche Hotels properties through the foundation.

“We welcomed the first refugees on February 27. Currently, around 100 refugees stay free per day in each of the hotels. Over the past week, we have provided accommodation, food, assistance and the possibility to rest for around 5,000 refugees,” Zochowska said. “We provide shelter, food, cleaning supplies, clothes and everything they need. We organize entertainment and games for children. Medical and psychological assistance to people in need. We maintain a database of private accommodation for people wishing to accept refugees. We organize transport from the hotel to these houses…”

The foundation hopes to soon offer a longer placement to Ukrainian refugees. “Around March 10, we want to offer refugees more places where they can stay longer. Eventually, we want to organize around 1,000 such places.

Even destinations are stepping up support for Ukrainians around the world; Lithuanian citizens and businesses donated 10 million euros for the organization blue yellow, which provides military and humanitarian aid to Ukrainians. One of the main attractions of the capital of Vilnius, the Energy and Technology Museumis ready to welcome Ukrainian refugees as soon as they arrive.

The recent Klaipeda Festival of Lights, which celebrated the 770th anniversary of Vilnius, was held in silence for an hour in solidarity with Ukraine, with the main objects of the festival illuminated in the yellow and blue colors of Ukraine. In another show of support, the street in Vilnius where the Russian Embassy is located has been renamed Street of Ukrainian Heroes.

If you are wondering how to support Ukrainian refugees or the Ukrainian resistance, do not hesitate to contact any of these organizations mentioned above.