JOHN GALLIGAN, a small independent travel agency based in Dublin, sells tours to Russia since the 1980s.
his week was coming to an end.
“We know that the Russian government will not be the least bit concerned about JGT canceling its Irish programme,” Mr Galligan said.
“However, we feel obliged to register our protest against the murder and chaos that the Russian government has brought upon the innocent people Ukraine.”
The Confederation of Irish Travel Agents member has now canceled all trips to Russia, including the popular short trips to St Petersburg and Moscow.
Mr Galligan says he admires the Russian people and their culture (“In what other country would you take a tour of the tube stations?”) and strives to keep politics at a distance.
But he felt Russia’s invasion of Ukraine could not be ignored.
“Our protest may be small and insignificant, but if everyone around the world makes similar tiny gestures, Russia will definitely start feeling the pinch.”
Travel companies around the world are making similar decisions – in protest at the Russian invasion of Ukraine and recognizing that many customers find traveling to the region unsafe.
Cruise lines like Royal Caribbean, Norwegian and MSC have made popular stops in St. Petersburg, and Expedia Group says it has “stopped selling trips to and from Russia.” reports.
Russia and many Western countries have banned airlines from each other’s airspace. several nations, including IrelandBritain and the US have also warned citizens not to travel to Russia.
“We are shocked and deeply saddened by the events that are unfolding,” said a statement from Travel Department, another Irish tour operator canceling its Russia tours.
As sanctions take hold and the war rages on, the idea of doing business in Russia has become increasingly toxic.
This week US travel guide author and tour operator Rick Steves canceled all tours for 2022 including a stopover in Russia. G Adventures has canceled its Russia tours and has banned Russian nationals residing in Russia from all tours.
“It’s like we haven’t learned anything in 75 years,” founder Bruce Poon Tip said in a statement this week.
“These sanctions and enforced global isolation will impact ordinary people who may not agree with their country’s policies – and who may even be brave enough to protest.
“However, these sanctions are essential to put pressure on the whole country and bring about change.”
Canceling entire travel programs is not an easy step. In addition to lost revenue, businesses already struggling to recover from the Covid-19 pandemic are struggling to refund and rebook guests.
Hotels, tour operators and other companies may also have employees who live and work in Russia, or affected partners who are unrelated Wladimir Putin‘s war.
It is unclear when the situation will improve.
Flights to and from Ukraine may not resume until “next winter”, according to Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary said this weekand pointed out that Russia’s destruction of radar and flight systems would slow the process.
Other travel companies have made donations to help the situation.
Airbnb, for example, while continuing to offer accommodation for rent in Russia, announced that Airbnb.org will offer free short-term housing to up to 100,000 refugees fleeing Ukraine.
Elsewhere an international ‘ Hospitality for Ukraine‘ campaign calls on hospitality companies to help Ukrainian refugees by hosting those fleeing conflict.
Organized by marketing agency Stay the Night and BudgetTraveller.org’s Kash Bhattacharya, the campaign calls on hotels, hostels and other accommodation providers to join a database said to be shared with relevant organizations supporting local refugees.
“It’s really heartbreaking to see innocent people being forced to leave their homes,” Bhattacharya said.
“Having worked in the travel and hospitality industry for over 10 years, I know what an amazing global community this industry is.
“I hope we can work together to provide protection and safety to those in need.”
https://www.independent.ie/life/travel/travel-news/irish-travel-agents-axe-russian-holidays-if-everyone-makes-similar-tiny-gestures-russia-will-start-feeling-the-pinch-41411242.html Irish Travel Agencies Cancel Russian Holidays – ‘If Everyone Makes Similar Small Gestures, Russia Will Start To Feel The Pinch’