Lonely Planet Writer

Australian travel company offers tours of Crimea

A travel company is Australia is hoping to give people the ability to visit Crimea – but not everyone is happy with the announcement.

The Swallow's Nest is a decorative castle on the Black Sea in Crimea.
The Swallow’s Nest is a decorative castle on the Black Sea in Crimea. Image by Fr Maxim Massalitin / CC BY-SA 2.0

Gateway Travel in Sydney has announced plans to run tours to the Crimean peninsula – which was annexed by Russia from Ukraine in 2014 – starting between May and October of this year. Crimea is still recognized as part of Ukraine by the Australian government, reports the Australian Associated Press.

In response to news of the tours, the Australia Federation of Ukrainian Organizations released a statement saying it “deplores” the idea of Australian tourists going to Crimea. “The international community has condemned Russian aggression in Ukraine and the annexation of Crimea, and has increased sanctions against the perpetrators and here we have tours being organised to the region”, said the organisation’s chairman, Stefan Romaniw. But Gateway Travel spokesperson was quoted in the Australian Associated Press as saying the decision to offer tours is non-political.

The Australia government currently advises against travel to Crimea, stating: “If you do travel, you should typically seek professional security advice. Be aware that regular travel insurance policies will be void and that the Australian Government is unlikely to be able to provide consular assistance”.

Read more: Crimea under Russian rule: what has changed for travellers?

Russian travel company to offer tours to Syria

Turkey & Russia trade holiday destination warnings