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MOSCOW, January 30 (Itar-Tass) —— About 3,000 tourists who have bought tours from the cash-stricken Lanta Tur Voyage company are now staying abroad, according to Federal Agency for Tourism (Rostourism) spokesman Oleg Moseyev.
“We have found out that more Lanta Tur customers are abroad than we thought before. Earlier we spoke of 1,500 people, but our updated reports indicate that a total of 3,000 customers of this tour operator are in Thailand, Indonesia, India, and Vietnam,” he said.
He said Rostourism special envoy Grigory Sarishvili, urgent sent to Bangkok, had just finished his talks with officials from the Thai tourism department. They agreed that “an agreement has been reached that the Russian tourists who are Lanta Tur customers will not be forced to stay in hotels even though their accommodation has not been paid for. They will be able to fly home by the nearest Transaero and Aeroflot flights freely,” Moseyev said.
But if tourists decide to stay on in Thailand and they have money, then Lanta Tur customers will have to pay an extra sum to be reimbursed to them in Russia.
“Tomorrow, January 31, Grigory Sarishvili will fly to Pattaya to personally inform the tourists and hoteliers of the decision made by the Thai tourist authorities. A crisis management centre will be set up at one of the hotels to deal with the Russian tourists’ problems,” Moseyev said.
It was reported earlier that Lanta Tur Voyage customers were experiencing problems abroad as their accommodation had been paid only in part.
“Lanta Tur Voyage's insolvency has resulted in a situation where hotels abroad have been paid only in part. We are getting reports from different countries that our tourists, whose tours have not been paid for in full, are getting arm-twisting treatment and basically asked to check out of their hotels,” Valeru Korovkin, head of the Department of International Cooperation of the Federal Agency for Tourism (Rostourism), said.
Rostourism and consular services in different countries are trying to solve this problem. “We ask the management of the hotels where Lanta tourists were staying to extend their accommodation until their flight back home. A tourist should not become a hostage of a dispute and such problems,” Korovkin said.
He noted that “there are 2,700 [affected] tourists abroad”, “all of them have return tickets and the company has promised to bring them back home shortly”.
Korovkin advised Lanta customers who have bought tours for the nearest dates to refrain from travelling in order to avoid problems.