How Travel Companies Are Helping the Ukraine Crisis
The global crisis in Ukraine is inciting a global reaction. We tip our hat to the travel and hospitalities companies taking a stand and lending a hand.
Marriott, Hilton, and Hyatt will hold off new openings and stop development of their hotel projects in Russia. Marriott and Hilton have also closed their corporate offices in Russia. As for the hotels currently in their portfolio, in a statement published on March 10, Marriott said, "Our hotels in Russia are owned by third parties and we continue to evaluate the ability for these hotels to remain open," underlining the complex relationship that hotel management companies often have with the owners behind them. The statement continues: "We have supported and will continue to support humanitarian efforts through relief organizations, our network of global partners and our own operations, including housing refugees at Marriott properties in neighboring countries. We stand with all of our associates who are being impacted by the war in Ukraine and have earmarked $1,000,000 to our associate relief fund to support them during this tragic time."
IHG Hotels & Resorts has also suspended development and closed its corporate office in Moscow. Additionally, the company is providing temporary housing for refugees.
Hilton, in partnership with American Express, #HospitalityHelps (see below), and individual hotel owners, the company will provide one million hotel room nights to refugees across Europe.
Accor is also halting future hotel projects and is offering humanitarian aid and housing for refugees in its hotels in Poland, Romania, Italy, and France. Its seven hotels in Ukraine remain open and are housing their employees and the media.
Tour operator G Adventures founder Bruce Poon Tip (whose strong humanitarian track record we have written about before) announced the cancellation of all tours in Russia, promising to refund anyone booked on future trips. Furthermore, they "will no longer accept Russian nationals residing inside Russia on our trips, nor will we take bookings from Russian agencies. Unfortunately, these sanctions and forced global isolation will impact everyday people who may not agree with — and who may even be brave enough to protest — their country’s politics. However, these sanctions are essential in order to apply pressure on the entire country and to invoke change. There are many fine people in Russia who are now forced to become part of the solution."
Hotels magazine reports that PFK hospitality group founder Michael Widmann has organized #HospitalityHelps to organize temporary accommodations, connecting refugees with hotels in Austria, Czechia, Germany, Hungary, Moldova, Poland, Romania, and Slovakia.
Chef, humanitarian, and all-around awesome guy José Andrés and his World Central Kitchen team are already on the ground providing hot meals and support along the Ukraine-Poland border. He's tweeting regularly about what he's seeing.
Airbnb is donating free, short-term housing to 100,000 refugees.
Expedia has stopped selling travel into and out of Russia.
Veselka, the beloved Ukranian restaurant in New York's East Village, is collecting supplies for the Ukrainian citizens and the military.
Windstar, Seabourn, and Silversea are among the many cruise lines that have cancelled their sailings to Russia. (Royal Caribbean and Celebrity Cruises: Time to step up.)
Delta ended its codeshare relationship with Aeroflot, Russia's national airline.
Travel guidebook phenom Rick Steves has cancelled his Russia tours.
Evel Pie pizzeria in Las Vegas replaced Russian vodka with Ukrainian vodka and sold $5 F@CK Putin shots, with all proceeds going to humanitarian relief efforts. One customer donated $300 to see a bottle of Russian vodka poured down the toilet.
If you want to let us know about other travel companies worth cheering, drop us a line at higuys (at) fathomaway.com. If you want to know how you can help, these are trusted resources.