Explore cancels Ukraine and Russia tours

Adventure tour operator Explore has cancelled all of its Ukraine tours until the end of 2022, and Russian tours up to the end of June this year.

Affected trips include a popular Discover Chernobyl trip (pictured) which includes a guided tour of the exclusion zone around the site of the nuclear disaster in Ukraine.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has also affected passengers booked on Explore tours to Georgia, who will be re-routed from flights into Kyiv to alternative routes.

It follows Russia’s ban on UK airline entering its airspace, made in response to transport secretary Grant Shapps ordering a ban of Russian carriers flying over the UK.

Regent Holidays and Viking Cruises have cancelled itineraries in the region while other travel companies with said they are monitoring the situation closely.

Explore’s head of global sales, Ben Ittensohn, said: “We have cancelled all of our Ukraine tours, which include our really popular Chernobyl tour, until the end of 2022.

“As of today, with Russia’s airspace ban, we have cancelled all our Russia tours to the end of June 2022. This could be extended.”

Ittensohn said the operator had made the decision following conversations with its partners and destination management companies (DMCs) in Ukraine and Russia.

“We are in contact with our partners and tour leaders out there,” he told Travel Weekly. “Their safety is our main concern. We will continue to support them and will resume travel when it is safe to do so. Cancelling the tours is the right thing to do.”

Ittensohn added: “We don’t take a political view. We have cancelled because we can no longer get our customers to the destination.

“It’s not up to [Vladimir] Putin to tell our customers they can’t travel there.”

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