MOSCOW, February 1 (Itar-Tass) —— VTB bank and the cash-strapped Lanta Tur Voyage tour operator have signed a credit facility agreement.
“We have just signed a credit facility agreement for 7 million U.S. dollars for five years,” VTB CEO Andrei Kostin said on Wednesday, February 1.
The loan will be provided at a rate of 12 percent against a surety. No reserves will be created.
VTB will make payments to three hotels, where Lzanta Tur customers are staying, on Thursday, February 2.
Kostin said that 7 million U.S. dollars would be used entirely to pay accommodation costs at the hotels. Lanta Tur’s debt to air carriers will have to be settled later.
Lanta Tur Voyage Director-General Lyudmila Puchkova said, “This is a significant agreement that will allow us to provide quality services to our customers.”
She said that “this will not be limited to just one loan and the dialogue with VTB will continue”.
Minister of Sport and Tourism Vitaly Mutko said the agreement would allow Lanta Tur customers to finish their vacations by February 12-13.
“About 2,500 tourists now staying abroad on Lanta Tur tours will be able to finish their vacations calmly and return home safely,” the minister said.
According to Mutko, Lanta Tur Voyage, one of the biggest tour companies in Russia, has suspended operations because of big debts. “This is why the bank refused to give it a loan to repay the debt,” he added.
Mutko expressed hope that Lanta Tur Voyage would get a loan of 50-70 million roubles and would resume payments.
On Thursday, February 2, the Ingosstrakh insurance company will start paying compensation to tourists who have bought their tours for coming months but can’t use them because of the company’s financial problems.
“We will offer a number of measures in order to avoid such situation in the future. The market should create self-regulated organisations and its own insurance fund,” the minister said.
“On the whole, the industry works well,” he said.
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.