TAMBOV, January 31 (Itar-Tass) —— Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has ordered Minister of Sports and Tourism Vitaly Mutko to settle within a day all problems of Russian tourists who are currently staying abroad on tours bough from the bankrupt travel company Lanta Tur Voyage.
During his meeting with Mutko on Tuesday, Putin urged to help the company settle its problems with its contractor abroad.
According to the prime minister, one of Russian banks has already agreed to give the company a required sum on condition that the money will be repaid.
“The travel company has been present on the market for years and has functioned smoothly up till now. On the face of it, there are no signs of criminal actions. But everything should be checked,” he said. “Let us think the situation is purely economic.
“Let us take the easiest path that would guarantee the rights of our citizens. It is necessary to help the company pay its foreign debts so that our tourists could continue their vacations as they had agreed with the company and safely come back home,” Putin said.
The prime minister asked the minister to calculate possible expenses and involve Russian diplomats to help settle the problem.
According to Mutko, his ministry jointly with the Russian foreign ministry has held negotiations with Thailand, Vietnam and the Dominican Republic to let Russian tourists stay at hotels despite the company’s debts. He also said all Russian tourists have plane tickets. “They have an opportunity to leave even earlier,” he noted.
Lanta’s foreign contractors should have no doubts that its obligations will be fulfilled, Putin stressed. The next step, Putin continued, is to secure interests of the state bank (VTB Bank). “As far as I understand, the company is in contact and ready to work to find a solution. Please, take this issue under control,” Putin said.
Lanta Tur Voyage, one of Russia's largest travel agencies, unexpectedly suspended its operation on January 27. The company announced bankruptcy as Master Bank denied it a credit line.
Lanta Tur has operated for more than 12 years and specialized in organizing trips to Thailand, Vietnam and India.
As many as 2,385 Lanta’s tourists are still abroad. The bulk of them are in Thailand – about 900 people. About 1,000 tourists filed to leave Russian for their foreign trips.
Russia’s Investigations Committee opened a criminal case against Lanta top managers on charges of large-scale fraud.