MOSCOW, February 1 (Itar-Tass) —— About 1,000 customers of the cash-strapped Lanta Tur Voyage tour operator have requested compensation from the Ingosstrakh insurance company.
“Up to date about 1,000 people have requested compensation from the insurance company,” Ingosstrakh spokesman Vladimir Kleimenov told Itar-Tass on Wednesday, February 1.
“About 800 of those 1,000 have contacted our Moscow offices,” he added.
“Some 200 affected customers of this tour operator have gone to Ingosstrakh’s branches in 12 Russian cities” and “we have also received applications from citizens of Kazakhstan and Belarus,” Kleimenov said.
However he stressed that Ingosstrakh has so far not received the big register containing all information on the tourists who are travelling abroad from Lanta Tur Voyage.
“This is a very important document that has been given to us in part, but we have no full register that would give us the overall picture,” Kleimenov said.
He noted that “it has been decided to extend the work of the offices from 19:00 till 20:00 Moscow time and increase the number of personnel” to explain to people which documents they need to submit.
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.
According to Federal Agency for Tourism (Rostourism) and the Association of Tour Operators (ATOR), no more than 2,400 Lanta Tur Voyage customers are now staying abroad. About 1 thousand tourists who bought tours from this company cannot fly out of Russia.
One of the reasons is the company’s debt to air carriers. Aeroflot claims that it is owned 63 million roubles.
On January 13, despite Lanta Tur Voyage’s debt to Aeroflot in the amount of 46 million roubles, it was not disconnected from the booking system as its management promised to pay off the debt using a loan from a commercial bank. But the bank refused to give it a loan, and as a result, Lanta Tur Voyage’s debt increased to 63 million roubles.
“Since the company’s action caused direct damage to Aeroflot and its shareholders, the biggest of which is the government of Russia, the airline decided to reduce booking volumes for Lanta Tur in order to protect their interests,” Aeroflot said.
It was Master Bank's refusal to issue a loan to Lanta Tur Voyage that led to its bankruptcy, Russian Union of Tourist Industry (RST) spokeswoman Irina Tyurina said.