TRAVEL streamer Heygo is extending its #StandWithUkraine helping hand to the end of March, donating its commission on a special range of live real time tours worldwide to the Red Cross to support humanitarian efforts in Ukraine.
Around 50 tours are included in the extra programme, which was due to end on March 10 but will now run until at least March 31, on the free-to-join live streamed trips platform. Virtual travellers have helped raise £20,000 so far.
They include trips to Ukraine itself, Russia, Brazil, Japan, Poland, the Netherlands, Spain, the US, the UK and other destinations. In addition, guides working in Ukraine are receiving 100% of tips. Usually, guides receive 60% with Heygo retaining the remaining 40% to reinvest in the company.
Despite the dreadful events unfolding in their homeland, Ukraine guides have continued to run tours where possible, many showing the human side of the tragedy.
Heygo founders Liam Garrison and John Tertan
In an announcement today, Heygo founders John Tertan and Liam Garrison said: “Since the outbreak of hostilities, our focus has been on supporting guides in Ukraine with our #StandWith Ukraine initiative. Support from the Heygo community has been inspiring, and we’re proud to have already raised over £20,000 for Ukrainian guides and the Red Cross.
“While the initiative was slated to end yesterday, we’ve decided to extend it until the end of March to allow more opportunities for us all to show our support. From today on, 100% of tips — both guides’ and Heygo’s share — for tours in the #StandWithUkraine category will be donated to the Red Cross.
“Meanwhile, Heygo will continue to waive all commissions for Ukrainian guides so they receive 100% of tips for their tours. We hope you’ll continue supporting these tours as well.”
Sanctions on Russia sparked by the invasion have meant that guides in Russia have found themselves unable to access money raised by travellers’ tips, so a new system has been temporarily put in place.
“Our thoughts are also with our beloved guides based in Russia who have no say in this war and have continued to bravely use Heygo to share their world and speak their minds,” the founders said.
“While there are no sanctions to date that broadly restrict financial transactions with ordinary Russian citizens, the payment services that Heygo relies on to distribute funds internationally no longer allow transactions to accounts in Russia.
“As such, from March 11 on, Heygo will be donating 100% of tips — both guides’ and Heygo’s share — for guides based in Russia to the Red Cross. We’ve been in touch with these guides to share this temporary new policy and offer any support we can.
“While we wholeheartedly encourage our Russian guides to keep streaming on Heygo, we also respect any decisions they need to make for their safety or financial reasons. And we’ll continue looking for new solutions as the situation evolves, hopefully toward peace.
“Most of all, we hope that all of you — and especially our guides and Heygoers in Ukraine — stay safe and supportive of one another during this challenging moment.
“You all show us every day on Heygo how much stronger our world is when united in peace, curiosity, and respect. We hope — and believe — that spirit will prevail above all else.”
Heygo live streamed tours, which include live chat with the guide and other travellers, and the facility to take ‘postcard’ screen snapshots, are free to join, with users encouraged to leave voluntary tips typically from £5 in the UK. Trips can attract hundreds of virtual travellers.
To find #StandWithUkraine trips and other tours, see www.heygo.com.