Wednesday,  August 17, 2022  9:16 pm

"Thank you, Sabre, for removing Aeroflot": Bruce Poon Tip urges industry to support meaningful change

"Thank you, Sabre, for removing Aeroflot": Bruce Poon Tip urges industry to support meaningful change
G Adventures' Founder Bruce Poon Tip. (Supplied/File photo)
Pax Global Media

G Adventures' Founder Bruce Poon Tip has issued a second statement regarding Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, applauding software and tech company Sabre Corporation for terminating its distribution agreement with Aeroflot, the largest government-majority owned carrier in Russia. 

Sabre, yesterday (March 3), announced that it will remove Aeroflot content from its global distribution system (GDS), a marketplace used by travel agencies, travel websites and corporations around the world. 

It is one of the latest travel companies to announce boycotts and other forms of retaliation against Russia in response to the country's invasion of Ukraine.

Poon Tip, earlier this week, shared a heartfelt message informing our travellers, partners and international media of the actions G Adventures has taken to support Ukraine. 

READ MORE: “I stand with Ukraine”: G Adventures cancels all Russia tours, will refuse bookings from Russian agencies

The tour operator has cancelled all trips to Russia and are no longer allowing Russian nationals residing inside the country on tours, nor is the company 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," Poon Tip said in a follow-up statement on Friday (March 4). "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." 

Sabre's latest move, Poon Tip said, is "the right thing." 

READ MORE: Collette cuts tours in Russia, pledges $200,000 to humanitarian relief in Ukraine

"Thank you, Sabre, for removing Aeroflot and supporting meaningful change," he wrote. "The power to have the most dramatic impact in travel right now lies in the hands of one company, and yesterday they stepped up and did the right thing. That company is Sabre, the reservations system for Russia’s national carrier, Aeroflot." 

"Without Sabre, Aeroflot is unable to issue tickets, which will cause mass disruption for domestic travel in Russia." 

Travel companies are currently 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. 

The movement is extending across the cruise industry as well, with Royal Caribbean being the latest company to cancel sailings to Russia. 

"This is exactly what we need to come together in travel to embrace our ability to be a transformational industry," Poon Tip wrote. 

Poon Tip revealed that, no less than a few hours before Sabre's announcement, he was "set to click send on an appeal" to the tech company, asking them to stop their support of Aeroflot and "realize 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," Poon Tip wrote. 

"This maneuver from Sabre is vital, as we need everyday people to rise up and fight for their everyday freedoms. Without Sabre, internal travel becomes extremely difficult and this is an incredible example of the leadership our industry needs to apply essential pressure internally." 

Take a stand 

Poon Tip said 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." 

"SWIFT 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," Poon Tip wrote. 

READ MORERoyal Caribbean Group joins rivals in cancelling sailings to Russia

The travel entrepreneur noted that he is "acutely aware that sanctions impact everyday people." 

"And as heartbreaking as it is to implement them - we must, we have to," Poon Tip wrote. "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." 

Will we do enough? 

"Only history will tell," he concluded. "What I do know is we all need to be part of the solution to a faster, more peaceful resolution." 


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