MOSCOW, September 20 (Itar-Tass) —— More than 40 Russians have died in Turkey over the past eight months, the head of Rosturizm, Alexander Radkov, told the Federation Council’s committee for youth affairs and tourism with reference to the Russian consulate in Antalya.
Radkov said that "during the same period of time 167 Russian tourists were injured in road accidents in Turkey, Turkish courts sentenced 34 Russians, deported 41, and detained 100."
In addition, over the same eight months medical care, according to local insurance companies, was requested by about 1,200 people, Radkov said.
According to the official, "the cause of all accidents involving Russian tourists is loose control of the Turkish state of the country's tourism industry."
"This includes the monitoring of safety on the roads and of the supply of food in retail outlets and tourist infrastructures," he explained.
"I must say that lately we managed to force the Turkish side to accept a number of necessary regulations which, among other things, regulate the sphere of transport safety," said Radkov. Thus, according to new regulations in Turkey it is forbidden to transport excursion groups from 24:00 to 6:00, he recalled.
According to Radkov, "the laws that Turkey is adopting are good ones, but there emerge problems related to compliance and enforcement."
The head of the federal tourism agency once again pointed to the need for purchasing 30-thousand-dollar insurance on the most popular itineraries, such as Turkey and Egypt.
"Many of the incidents involving our tourists have shown 15,000 dollars is insufficient coverage, so we still insist that on the main routes tourists should buy greater insurance," he said.
Radkov also noted that now Rosturizm was considering the opening of three offices outside Russia - in Turkey, Egypt and China.
"These are the most often selected sites for holiday-making, so it is most logical to have such offices there," he explained.
Radkov said that the establishment of Rosturizm offices abroad was fully supported by the Russian Foreign Ministry, but so far no funds for this purpose had been disbursed yet. The Ministry of Finance has pledged to give the money by 2014, but as the head of the federal tourism agency said, it would be wrong to wait that long.
According Radkov, "recently there have occurred serious situations on the main tourist routes that cause certain fears." Commenting on the incidents in Bulgaria, Radkov said that "in order to avoid such incidents, when tourists become hostage of disputes between tour operators and airlines, you must create a special fund that would be a kind of ‘air bag safety option’ in case of any difficulties for Russian travelers."
The deputy general director of the travel company Coral Travel, Maria Badalova, said tour operators should develop a standard reminder for Russian tourists to make sure that "each tourist leaving the country should have all the necessary information." "Today, every tour operator offers its own memo, however, there should be a single information sheet for each of the countries Russians visit," she said.