Here Is How the Travel Industry Is Lending a Hand in Ukraineby Daniel McCarthy /
Here is some of what the travel industry has done, and continues to do, more than a month into the Russian-Ukraine war:
The Auto Club Group is lending its resources by supporting World Central Kitchen, a not-for-profit, non-governmental organization founded by celebrity chef Jose Andres. World Central Kitchen is providing meals to those evacuating from Ukraine at points along its border.
Part of that support is also transportation---the AAA team has been able to expedite international drivers’ license permits to World Central Kitchen staff in Poland who have been able to rent cars in order to support the organization’s efforts.
Airbnb, through its nonprofit, has given free, temporary housing to at least 100,000 refugees fleeing Ukraine. The home-sharing platform has also allowed people around the world to support Ukrainian Hosts by booking their own homes and sending messages of support through the platform.It is also allowing hosts to start hosting for free, or at a discount, in order to find refugee guests a place to stay.
Airbnb is also continuing to match all donations made through its platform.
The river cruise company told TMR last month that it lent one of its river ships to provide temporary accommodations for refugees fleeing Ukraine into the Netherlands.
The ship docked alongside another vessel that will be providing food services to the refugees.
“We are deeply saddened by what is taking place in Ukraine. We want to do everything we can to provide support to those affected through our partnership with the Port of Amsterdam, we’re able to offer some emergency accommodations for Ukrainian refugees arriving into the Netherlands,” president and co-founder Rudi Schreiner said.
Carnival Corp.’s Costa Cruises has lent its Costa Magica ship to the Italian Government to be used as part of its plan to host refugees over the coming weeks. Costa is also providing medical supplies to support those that need them in Ukraine.
Also, the Netherlands this week revealed it will use Holland America Line’s Volendam as a temporary shelter for Ukrainian refugees in the Netherlands during a three-month stay in Rotterdam. During that time, the ship will house and feed approximately 1,500 Ukrainians, part of a larger commitment by the country to accommodate 50,000 people.
Holland America Group has also set up a $1 million emergency assistance fund to provide direct financial support to its Ukrainian team members. Ukrainian crew members can receive counseling assistance, free internet to communicate with family, and scheduling accommodations such as early disembarkation or an extension to remain onboard as needed.
Those moves followed a $3 million donation from the Mickey and Madeleine Arison Family Foundation, the organization built and named after Carnival Corp. Chairman Micky Arison and his wife Madeleine, to provide aid to Ukrainian refugees, as well.
Tour operator Collette has pledged $200,000 as part of its foundation to support humanitarian organizations on the ground in Ukraine. That money will be pledged to aid specific organizations on the ground to assist refugees and persons impacted by the crisis.
“The commitment to making the world a better place through travel has always been Collette’s core purpose. Providing this level of support is at the forefront of why our family chose to create the foundation and situations such as they are exactly why we do what we do,” Collette president Jaclyn Leibl-Cote said.
During the latest Ensemble Elite journey on AmaMagna on the Danube, Ensemble was able to source supplies, including blankets, diapers, toothbrushes, razors, and more from attendees to be sent to the Hungarian Reform Church Aid for distribution.
“While the purpose of this trip is to celebrate the top advisors of our consortium, our members have communicated to us that they also want to do something meaningful to help those impacted by this horrible situation," said David Harris, CEO of Ensemble Travel Group.
“It was truly heartwarming to see attendees arrive with extra suitcases filled with items to donate and to know that they will be helping those in need.”
Family Bonds Foundation
The Family Bonds Foundation, a Travel Leaders Group organization, recently announced it has raised $13,000 for the Global Empowerment Mission (GEM), an organization that is currently trying to get aid into and refugees out of Ukraine. GEM is a preferred charity partner for ASTA when it comes to Ukraine aid.
The Family Bonds Foundation, which is headed by Nexion’s Jackie Friedman, was created to support families, children, and communities who are experiencing hardships.
“ASTA’s partnership with GEM provided us the perfect opportunity to contribute to a charity that is on the ground in the middle of the situation, actively working with Ukrainians,” Friedman said.
Israel Ministry of Tourism
The Israel Ministry of Tourism announced last week that it would begin providing free tours throughout Israel for new immigrants who have fled the war in Ukraine. All of the tours are being led by Russian-speaking, licensed tour guides and include guiding and transportation from the 20 hotels where new immigrants are staying in until housing solutions can be found.
“We’re thrilled to announce this addition to our guided tours in Israel and are grateful that we as a country, are able to welcome those fleeing the war in Ukraine,” Eyal Carlin, the tourism commissioner of North America said.
Hotel giant Marriott is allowing Bonvoy members to donate points to relief efforts through its website here, with Marriott matching donations point-for-point for World Central Kitchen and Unicef. As of this week, over 46 million Bonvoy points have already been donated. Marriott hotels have also been used as accommodations for refugees fleeing their homes in Ukraine.
The hotel company has also donated $1 million in support of impacted associates, their families, and communities in the region. The J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott Foundation has also donated another $1 million to support associates and organizations on the ground, including UNICEF, World Central Kitchen, International Rescue Committee, International Federation of Red Cross, and more.
The MSC Foundation, the charity arm of MSC Cruises’ parent company, is undertaking a number of initiatives to support refugees fleeing Ukraine, including offering accommodations in Romania for Ukraine crew members and their families and covering all related expenses and food.
It is also dedicating 20 forty-foot containers to transport relief items collected by donors and coordinated at the Ukrainian embassy in Spain and will continue to offer container shipping to provide supplies for refugees.
The foundation has also started a fundraising campaign to provide 250,000 emergency items for refugees as soon as they cross the border. The money raised is being matched by MSC and used to buy 50,000 folding camp beds, 100,000 sleeping bags, and 100,000 high thermal blankets. All the funds raised will go on these relief items since the logistics and shipping are being provided out of MSC Group resources.
Royal Caribbean is also assisting all of its Ukrainian crew members and their families in getting home or close to home, according to a Facebook post from Michael Bayley last month. According to Bayley, Royal employs over 500 crew members from Ukraine.
Unicomm and TMR
Profits from the most recent New York Travel and Adventure Show, hosted by TMR and Unicomm, were also dedicated to organizations providing relief to Ukraine.