MOSCOW, February 29 (Itar-Tass) — The Lanta-Tour Voyage tour operator said it would continue to operate on the Russian market and pay compensations to its clients who suffered in the recent crisis, an official at the Russian Union of Travel Industry (RST) said on Wednesday , citing the company's president Lyudmila Puchkova. Earlier, a number of media outlets reported that the company would be shut down.
The RST said "the tour operator is not shutting down; and its administration will continue to struggle for the company."
Puchkova explained that the company was in talks with a potential investor. "We have to dismiss the personnel as we cannot not keep them at their workplaces without paying them wages. As soon as we find the investor, the company will resume operations, and will enlist new staff," she said.
Lanta-Tour Voyage, one of Russia's largest tour operators, unexpectedly suspended its activity on January 27. The company announced bankruptcy as Master Bank denied it a 30-million-rouble credit line. As a result, thousands of Russian tourists were unable to fly from Russia. The company also failed to pay for hotel accommodations of its clients already staying abroad.
On January 31, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin ordered Minister of Sports and Tourism Vitaly Mutko to settle the problems of the Russian tourists who had gone abroad under contracts with Lanta-Tur Voyage operator.
VTB signed an agreement with Lanta-Tour on February 1 on extending a 7-million-dollar credit for five year, to enable the tour operator to pay its debts.
According to the Rostourism federal tourism agency, the last Lanta-Tour clients returned home on February 12-13.
The company has operated for more than 12 years and mostly serviced such areas as Thailand, Vietnam and India.
Latest reports said that 6,000 people applied for compensation at Lanta-Tour's insurance company Ingosstrakh. The aggregate damage is estimated at 300 million roubles, which exceeds the sum of financial guarantees by several times.