MOSCOW, January 31 (Itar-Tass) —— Some 2,000 clients of Lanta-Tour Voyage are still staying abroad. Another 150 people are returning home on Tuesday, Maya Lomidze, managing director of the Russian Association of Tourist Operators (ATOR) said at a press conference here on Tuesday.
“According to the information of the Russian Federal Agency for Tourism (Rostourism), the figure for Monday was 2,200 clients of Lanta-Tour. 180 people returned home yesterday. Consequently, at present some 2,000 Lanta-Tour clients are staying abroad,” she said.
According to her information, the situation with the extortion of money from Lanta Tour clients was especially outrageous in Vietnam and Thailand. “We think it is not correct, to say the least, on the part of hotel owners to ask for additional payments from tourists. They themselves worked with Lanta-Tour without pre-payment. This is why tourists should not become hostages of the dispute between two economic entities,” the ATOR representative said.
According to Ms. Lomidze, “it is known that money was extorted from six Lanta-Tour clients in Prague for the accommodation in hotels. In Thailand such cases were registered in eight hotels and affected 300 people. In Vietnam such problems emerged in four hotels and affected 200 tourists.”
“In this case tourists, who got into trouble, should turn to officials from the Russian consulates. In Vietnam, for example, the consul helped to settle the problem with about all the hotels, in which our tourists – clients of Lanta-Tour – were accommodated,” she said.
Lanta-Tour Voyage, one of the biggest tourist firms on the Russian market, suddenly suspended its work on January 27. Its bankruptcy was the result of the refusal of the Master Bank to grant a credit to it. The Russian Investigation Committee instituted criminal proceedings against its management.
Lanta Tour Voyage has been on the market for over 12 years. It specialized mostly on trips to Thailand, Vietnam and India.
The Russian Foreign Ministry reports that “Russian embassies and consular departments joined without delay the settlement of the situation. It is kept under a permanent control of special task groups. Consular workers were dispatched to areas of greatest concentration of Lanta-Tour clients. Lists of tourists were specified.”
Grigory Sarishvili, special representative of Rostourism, came to Thailand on Monday for helping Lanta-Tour clients.