MOSCOW, February 1 (Itar-Tass) — Chairman of the Russian consumers union Pyotr Shelishch said Lanta-Tour Voyage's debt to partners reached some 40 million dollars.
Speaking at a news conference on Wednesday, Shelishch reminded that on Tuesday, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin ordered Minister of Sports and Tourism Vitaly Mutko within 24 hours to settle the problems of the Russian tourists who travelled abroad under contracts with this tour operator.
On Wednesday, the VTB bank promised to extend a loan to Lanta-Tour Voyage.
"The prime minister's interference will reverse Lanta-Tour's situation, which is good, but the bad thing is that we need manualcontrol to set things right in Russia," the consumers union chairman said.
He noted a difficult situation on the Russian market at present: many tour operators resort to dumping prices, "which results in negative processes."
Bankruptcies and unregulated relations between market participants might increase the number of Russians who will take their holiday arrangements in their own hands.
"People will start setting up a sort of travellers’ cooperatives, book rooms in hotels and air tickets with a discount. It’s a promising form, and it might lower risks on the tourism market."
Meanwhile, the chairman of the board of international confederation of consumer societies, Dmitry Yanin said at a news conference that Russia needs to have sold tours registered, so that a tourist would have an opportunity to see if his money reached all the parties.
Yanin said that Russian market of tourist services cannot be regarded as established after two decades as emerging problems indicate lack of consumer rights protection mechanism.
"There's the dictate of airlines, poor regulation of payments, and even such ignominious things as "shadow cash," he said.
In his view, Rostourism and the Ministry of Sports and Tourism should have long introduced the registration for each sold tour. "It is not difficult, all the tours are sold under an established procedure, the sold tours are entered into the tour operator's registry, and a person has the opportunity to monitor if he is on this registry of travellers, and make sure his contract is OK," he explained.
Yanin also called for introducing a system of transparent sales of tours, and revising the insurance benefit. A 100-million-rouble indemnity is insufficient for large tour operators, he said.
According to the Rostourism federal agency, there are around 2,400 Lanta-Tour Voyage clients abroad at present. About 1,000 Lanya-Tour clients are unable to fly from Russia to their vacation destinations.