Ukrainian and Russian tourists who happened to be travelling when the war broke out on 24 February are now stranded abroad and struggling with logistical problems.
1. Caribbean forced-refuge
Being stranded in the Caribbean doesn’t sound like a huge nightmare, unless for the 14,800 Russian and nearly 3,000 Ukrainian tourists who are currently stuck in the Dominican Republic and unable to fly back to their countries currently raging a war against each other.
With Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, the international community reacted with several sanctions, including travel restrictions and the removal of certain Russian banks from the SWIFT system for international payments, which is creating substantial logistical problems to many Russians abroad.
The Caribbean country will guarantee that the stranded tourists remain in their lodgings “until a conclusive solution is found to their situation in light of the conflict in their countries,” according to a statement from the Tourism Ministry. An official agreement was reached by the government and the Asonahores Hotel and Restaurant Association, as well as hotel representatives.
In addition, the repatriation process for Russian tourists has been agreed with Russian tour operators. As for the Ukrainian tourists, according to the main Ukrainian tour operator, the approximately 1,900 visitors will stay in their assigned hotels until a solution is found.
Thousands of tourists are also stranded in Egypt, where around 20,000 Ukrainians are unable to travel back to their home country, according to official estimates.
According to an Egyptian tourism blog, the mein-aegypten.com, the Egyptian Tourism Ministry has instructed the managers of three-star hotels to provide stranded Ukrainian tourists with three meals a day and refreshments. To that end, a tourism fund will cover the cost of accommodation and meals.
Last year, more than 1.4 million people from Ukraine spent their vacations in Egypt, the Ministry said. This high figure made the Ukrainian the second-largest group of European tourists in the country on the Nile.
Zanzibar, which belongs to Tanzania, is also harboring several hundred of Ukrainians. According to the newspaper The East African, based in Nairobi, “almost 1,000” people were “tourists” who could no longer return to their homeland after the conflict started. They are currently seeking a diplomatic solution with the authorities assessing whether they should be sent on to Poland.
According to Zanzibar‘s tourism minister, Lela Muhamed Mussa, the vacationers are staying in hotels. Some of them were staying free of charge and receiving humanitarian assistance. Hussein Mwinyi, president of the semi-autonomous region, said they were trying to assist the stranded Ukrainians and said they were also receiving consular support from the Ukrainian Embassy in Kenya.
4. Greece and Turkey
In Europe, Greece and Turkey are the top destinations for tourists from the two countries currently at war. Last year, Turkey recorded more than 2 million guests from Ukraine and 4.7 million from Russia.
The press attaché for the Greek Embassy in Berlin, Sotiris Krystallis, said that only a few tourists from Ukraine are currently in the country, according to DW. By contrast, there are currently about 2,000 Russian visitors in Greece, according to the data. Still, there are now more than 2,700 Ukrainian refugees who are being helped in Greece, according to the authorities.