The European Travel Commission (ETC), representing national tourism organisations of Europe, issued a statement today condemning the military aggression by the Russian Federation and expressing solidarity with the people of Ukraine:
The European Travel Commission stands in solidarity with the Ukrainian people. The Russian military invasion in Ukraine is in direct opposition to the fundamental values of the European project and should stop immediately. ETC strongly condemns this violation of international law and calls for all parties to work towards a peaceful resolution.
The founding principle of ETC is to promote travel as a catalyst for peace, understanding and respect. This original mission is as valid today as it was when our organisation was established more than 70 years ago in the aftermath of World War II. We remain steadfast in our commitment to ensuring travel continues to build bridges between different cultures and people.
ETC stands ready to support the Ukrainian people fleeing conflict. We praise the ongoing efforts of our members and industry partners to provide transportation, shelter and food to Ukrainian refugees. There are countless examples of the outpouring of support including our colleagues in Lithuania who launched a webpage and a hotline service for Ukrainian citizens in need of advice about relocating to Vilnius. Meanwhile, ETC’s associate member Airbnb is offering free accommodation for up to 100,000 Ukrainians displaced by the war. Another inspiring example is train operators from many European countries who expressed solidarity and offered free travel to Ukrainian refugees. We will continue working with the travel community to develop and further promote initiatives across Europe to help the people of Ukraine.
Our thoughts are with our travel and tourism colleagues in Ukraine, whose livelihoods have been needlessly destroyed. ETC is also mindful that this conflict will negatively impact the travel and tourism sectors of neighbouring countries, which were slowly recovering from the COVID-19 crisis. ETC is working together with the European Commission, and other European stakeholders, to mitigate the short and medium-term consequences and support affected colleagues.
Travel is a force of peace towards a better future, and no aggression should stop it. European destinations remain safe to travel to.