The Ukrainian War, Refugees, & European Travel
We are fielding many questions about the Ukrainian war, refugees, and European travel.
We have all watched in horror as a Russian dictator has invaded the sovereign nation of Ukraine.
As a result of this destruction, we are witnessing millions of Ukrainian women and children seeking asylum in neighboring countries.
This Wall Street Journal article shares that most of them are pouring into Poland.
Nonetheless, we are getting questions with so many of our travelers headed to Budapest, Hungary.
Many fear that maybe Hungary will be deluged like Poland.
As you can see in the map below, Hungary does share a border with Ukraine. However, Poland and Romania share much larger borders and have consequently seen the largest share of refugees.
Further, it is important to know that Budapest is roughly an eight-hour drive from the fighting and represents approximately the same driving distance driving from Phoenix to Los Angeles.
ON THE GROUND IN BUDAPEST, HUNGARY
One of the benefits we bring our clients is on the ground intelligence from our travel partners all over the world.
Through our industry connections, we reached out to Gwen Kozlowski, president of Exeter International, an expert in the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Poland, to understand what it looks like on the ground in Budapest.
Here is her response:
“It’s a terrible humanitarian crisis that is happening right now. By far, the bulk of the refugees are crossing the border to Poland. Hungary shares a border, too, although this is a few hours from Budapest, where most of our travelers will visit.
We have had guests in Budapest since the war started, and we have more guests arriving there next week. From a tourist standpoint, there hasn’t been any disruption. This is quite different than the refugee crisis from Syria and Africa, where Hungary, literally, slammed the doors on the refugees. This time they’re accepting those who can cross and finding help and housing for them right away. No refugees are sleeping in train stations or worse. I’ve actually been so proud of all the countries bordering Ukraine and how they’re coming together to help people during this unprecedented migration.”
And so, as difficult as it is to talk about happy travel plans with such devastation going on, it would seem that Hungary isn’t seeing anywhere’s near the influx of refugees as Poland. And, it would seem, travelers headed to Budapest won’t be seeing the millions of refugees that are currently pouring into Poland.
So while we would discourage leisure travel to Poland at the moment, Hungary has the welcome sign out for international leisure travelers. Further, I wouldn’t expect that we will see disruption to other European countries farther afoot from the problems.
Regardless of your European travel decisions, Roaming Boomers Travel asks that you join us in giving to the Ukrainian Red Cross.
These people are experiencing unspeakable atrocities, and they need our help. And while I can’t come physically to their defense, I can certainly give from my blessings and send along severely needed financial aid.
Please give, and together, let us Stand With Ukraine.
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