The founder of G Adventures has heaped praise on Sabre for terminating the distribution of Aeroflot tickets in support for Ukraine.
Bruce Poon Tip described the action against the Russian flag carrier as “vital as we need everyday people to rise up and fight for their everyday freedoms”.
He added: “Without Sabre, Aeroflot is unable to issue tickets, which will cause mass disruption for domestic travel in Russia. Without Sabre, internal travel becomes extremely difficult and this is an incredible example of the leadership our industry needs to apply essential pressure internally.”
Poon Tip revealed: “No less than a few hours before the announcement, I was set to click send on an appeal to Sabre, asking them to stop their support of Aeroflot and realise their potential as a key player in the travel industry’s fight against this unjust war.
“Russia has a thriving domestic travel market, serving leisure and corporate travellers and carrying people to do business as well as on vacation.
“Having already been cut off from the world of international travel, it is at home that the Russian people will feel the most pressure and become increasingly frustrated with this regime.”
His comments came as transport secretary Grant Shapps confirmed that Ukrainian refugees fleeing the conflict for the UK do not need to fill in a Passenger Locator Form (PLF) or take travel tests.
Poon Tip stressed: “The Russian government needs to know that every industry, including travel and tourism, stands against its actions and will support any and all sanctions that seek to protect Ukraine’s sovereignty, freedom and independence.
“All across the travel industry, businesses are uniting and cancelling tours to Russia and, in the case of G Adventures, banning resident Russian nationals from trips in order to apply internal pressure and invoke change.
“This is exactly what we need to come together in travel to embrace our ability to be a transformational industry.”
He added: “Swift [the international payment system] has banned Russian banks, historically neutral Switzerland has frozen Russian assets and even FIFA has stepped up.
“Industries all around us are fighting in their own way, wielding their individual power and influence. It is so important that travel plays its part alongside these movements to drive transformative change.
“I’m acutely aware that sanctions impact everyday people, and as heartbreaking as it is to implement them – we must, we have to.
“The only solution now is to apply pressure within Russia and force its citizens to demand the kind of comfort and convenience travel provides, above the atrocities of war and the propaganda designed to justify these unthinkable acts.
“Earlier this week I sent a heartfelt message informing our travellers, partners and international media of the actions we have taken to support Ukraine.
“We have cancelled all trips to Russia and are no longer allowing Russian nationals residing inside the country on our tours, nor are we taking bookings from Russian travel agencies.
“The show of love and support for our stance has been overwhelming so thank you to everyone who took the time to respond to me personally. It is incredibly encouraging and motivating to know so many people stand behind these kinds of decisions and want to help us fight for what is right.
“Will we do enough? Only history will tell. What I do know is we all need to be part of the solution to a faster, more peaceful resolution.”
Meanwhile Tripadvisor chief executive Steve Kaufer said in an open letter: “We will continue to find ways to support our impacted global community, especially those who are suffering because of actions taken by the Russian government in Ukraine.
“But it is important that we all recognise the actions of a government (or powerful individuals within a government) do not equate to the beliefs or interests of its people.
“Many of us might know someone who is of Russian descent or supports businesses that are owned and operated by people of Russian descent.
“That does not make them a government leader like Putin or mean they support his actions or policies. It is important to remember that we should treat every person in this world with the dignity and kindness we expect for ourselves.”