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ROME, January 28 (Itar-Tass) — The tour operator Gartour has declined to comment on reports claiming that its personnel has been extorting money from Russian tourists who bought tours from its troubled Russian partner LantaTur Voyage.
A group of 24 Russian tourists had only one last night left in Italy when they heard the news about the bankruptcy of Lanta Tur Voyage. Gartour, its Italian partner, used the situation to charge each of the tourists an additional 250 euros for the trip back home.
Gartour officials also warned them that they might not be able to enter the Schengen zone again if they refused to pay. However the tourists ignored the demands and decided to wait for the flight scheduled for January 28.
They flew out of Rimini in the morning by a Vim Avia plane.
Lanta Tur Voyage confirmed to Itar-Tass that the flight had taken place as scheduled and none of the Russian tourists in Italy experienced any problems.
Lanta Tur Voyage is one of the biggest companies in the Russian market. It unexpectedly stopped all operations on Friday, January 27. The company has been in business for more than 12 years, selling tours to such countries as Thailand, Vietnam and India.
Lanta has set up a crisis management centre at its office and announced a hotline number -- /7 /495/ 786-68-60/ -- for tourists to report their problems.
Federal Agency for Tourism (Rostourism) spokesman Oleg Moseyev told Itar-Tass earlier in the day that the agency’s officials and tour operators would meet to try to “work out joint solutions that would minimise losses for all sides”.