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MOSCOW, February 6 (Itar-Tass) —— The problems experienced by customers of the cash-strapped Lanta Tur Voyage tour operator abroad are practically resolved, Federal Agency for Tourism (Rostourism) spokesman Oleg Moseyev said on Monday, February 6.
“Neither the crisis management centre in Thailand nor Rostourism are receiving practically no complaints from Lanta Tur customers,” he said. “Hotels are getting payments, and the situation is normalising.’
Currently 870 Lanta Tur Voyage customers are remaining abroad, including 404 in Thailand, 156 in India, and 57 in Indonesia. “We expect all Russian tourists vacationing abroad from Lanta Tur to return home by February 12-13,” Moseyev 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.
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.
On January 31, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin instructed Minister of Sport and Tourism Vitaly Mutko to settle the problem facing Russian tourists travelling from Lanta Tur Voyage.
On February 1, VTB and Lanta Tur Voyage signed a 7 million U.S. dollar credit facility agreement for five years to allow the tour operator to pay its debts.
The loan will be provided at a rate of 12 percent against a surety. No reserves will be created.
The bank’s CEO Andrei 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”.