British holidaymakers eager to help the people of Ukraine are being urged to book with travel companies that are using their resources to support those fleeing the conflict.
Dozens of transport providers, tour operators and accommodation websites have jumped into action. Eurostar is offering unlimited free tickets to Ukrainians travelling from any Eurostar station to the UK, while Wizz Air will provide 100,000 free seats on flights from Ukraine’s neighbouring countries to any available destination.
Airbnb is providing short-term housing for 100,000 refugees, and is calling for more hosts to offer beds, plus donations, while an unofficial social media campaign saw thousands of users booking Airbnbs in Ukraine as a way of getting money to people there, with Airbnb waiving fees.
A new organisation, Hospitality for Ukraine, launched last week, is encouraging those in the hospitality sector to offer free accommodation for refugees: 220 accommodation providers have signed up so far across 19 countries.
“We see this campaign as long-term support, therefore we are continuing to encourage accommodation providers to sign up,” said co-founder Charlotte Hall.
Likewise Hospitality Helps is connecting refugees with hotels willing to provide free rooms in European cities, and Every Bed Helps, created by the Alliance of Serviced German Apartments Provider, covers cities across Germany, as well as Switzerland, the Netherlands and Scandinavia.
Other companies are focusing on fundraising. Accommodation specialist Sawday’s and its glamping brand Canopy and Stars are donating 5% of its March revenues to the international Choose Love Ukraine Crisis Fundraiser. “As a company, and as consumers and holidaymakers, we feel we have a duty to help in any way we can, by donating as individuals, but also by choosing to book holidays with businesses we trust,” said managing director Mike Bevens.
Ferry and cruise company Fred Olsen is crowdfunding to deliver trucks of donations to Ukraine, while adventure operators Explore – which was expecting to send 250 customers to Ukraine this year – and Intrepid are raising money for the Red Cross. Explore, which claims it was the first operator to pull out of Russia over the invasion, said it had received emails from customers committing lifetime loyalty over its response.
This is an excerpt from an article by Gemma Bowes, originally published by The Guardian.