British tourists are paying not to stay in Airbnbs in Ukraine to help people

Ukraine: Cleverly 'not prepared to discuss' increased aid

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As the idea went viral, Airbnb announced it would waive its fees for any bookings in Ukraine. The booking platform normally earns anywhere from three to 15 percent of a payment.

Airbnb will now not take a cut from any hosts in Ukraine. A spokesperson said: “We appreciate the generosity of our community during this moment of crisis.

“Airbnb is also waiving all guest and host fees on all bookings in Ukraine at this time.”

More than a million Ukrainians have been displaced following Russia’s invasion and many have lost their homes.

Sarah Archer, UK sales manager for Beachcomber tours, wrote on Twitter: “Booked a holiday in Kyiv on (Airbnb).

“Pick closest date, random apartment run by an individual not a company, book, pay and send a message of support while telling them you’re a no show.”

Airbnb said that 61,000 nights were booked in Ukraine over 48 hours with 8,000 bookings from UK citizens.

Journalist Emily Maitlis posted: “Friend just booked Airbnb apartment in Kyiv (that clearly he will never go to) as Airbnb have waived their commission.

“There are lots of different ways to help/donate but this is one more.”

Nicola Leach tweeted: “I have just paid for an Airbnb room in Ukraine. I added a message of support.

“This is not my idea. I have seen others doing it. I don’t know what else I can do.”

One person posted a screenshot of their booking. In a message to the host they wrote: “Hello Maria, my wife and I have booked your apartment for one week but of course we will not be visiting.

“This is just so you can receive some money. We wish we could do more to help you and the people of Kyiv.”

The host Maria said: “Thank you very much. May God keep you.”

Another host said: “Today my son and I left Kharkiv only with a passport in hand, we boarded an evacuation train to Lviv.

“After these days of endless shelling and aerial bombardment by Russian planes, my city was destroyed.

“It’s very scary. I don’t know what will happen next, now I just want to get as far away from the war as possible and save my son’s life. Thanks for your help.”

Some people raised concerns that Airbnb apartments could be run by a major company or even a Russian landlord instead of a Ukrainian citizen.

Simon Calder tweeted: “Lots of talk about booking random Airbnbs in Ukraine and paying for them with no intention of staying, to transfer cash to the country.

“Warning: were I a Russian scammer, I would be setting up fake Airbnbs in Kyiv and Odesa as fast as I could to cash in on these noble intentions.”

One person recommended finding a local’s name as the contact and messaging them before booking to be sure.

British tourists can also help people in Ukraine by donating to appeals run by charities including The British Red Cross and DEC.

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