The travel industry has come together to raise funds for Ukraine by donating trips for a charity auction launched this week. Travel for Ukraine has almost 50 lots up for grabs (worth over £100,000 in total), with all money going to support refugees displaced by the conflict.
Organised by Kathryn Brierley, managing director of The Healthy Holiday Company and in:spa retreats, in partnership with PR agency Travel Tonic, the auction runs until 8 May. Bids have already topped £50,000 and hotels and travel companies are still signing up, with more choices being offered all the time.
The starting price for bids is about 40% of the actual value, with the lowest bid £200 and the highest £5,200 for a trip worth £13,000. Offers range from stays on houseboats to fitness retreats and holidays in luxury resorts.
Among UK choices is a glamping holiday at Penhein in Monmouthshire, a B&B stay at Fritton Lake within a rewilding project in Norfolk, and two nights at the world’s first fully net zero hotel, room2, in Chiswick, west London. Soul & Surf is offering a surfing and yoga retreat in the Algarve, while high-end options include a luxury stay at Soneva Kiri in Thailand and a wellness break at Ananda Spa in the Indian Himalayas.
“Like everyone, I’ve been watching the news and feeling I really wanted to do something to help,” said Brierley. “The incredible work done by the #cookforukraine movement really inspired me to see if travel industry partners wanted to join forces and put together an impressive auction of trips.”
The auction is raising money for the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) Ukraine Humanitarian Fund to help the 11 million people who have fled the conflict. The funds will go a long way: £100 could provide emergency food for two families for a month; £50 could pay for blankets for four families.
“The response has been overwhelming and I know we have only scratched the surface,” Brierley continued. “There is the potential for other lots to be added to the auction over the next week. I’m especially grateful for everyone’s support as all these businesses have been hit hard in the past couple of years by the pandemic.”
Bids are open until 11.59pm on Sunday 8 May, when the winner of each lot will be announced.
In a separate initiative, travel journalist and hotel specialist Ianthe Butt has launched an online charity raffle for Ukraine. Tickets are £5 and offer the chance to win one of 18 one- or two-night stays in some of England’s best boutique hotels, including the Albion Rooms in Margate, the Harper in Norfolk, the Cary Arms in Devon and Leven in Manchester. The raffle closes on 28 April at 5pm, with winners announced shortly after.