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MOSCOW, April 8 (Itar-Tass) —— ITC tourists vacationing in Cuba are all right; they will return home by April 15, Executive Director of the Association of Tour Operators of Russia (ATOR) Maya Lomidze told Itar-Tass on Sunday.
She thus commented on media reports, which claimed that the Russians were being evicted from Cuban hotels due to the tour operator’s failure to pay the accommodation fees.
“We do not confirm this information. The Russian tourists are all right and their vacations go on,” Lomidze said. “The administrations of two hotels tried to blackmail ten Russians but the situation was settled. The hotels did that against the backdrop of the ITC tour operator’s financial problems.”
“The majority of about 70 ITC tourists spending their vacations in Cuba at the moment will return home on April 14-15,” Lomidze said.
Earlier reports said that 44 tourists of ITC (the International Travel Club) were evicted from the Paradisus Princesa del Mar Varadero hotel and the tourists’ appeal to the consul was neglected.
“Only 43 ITC tourists are spending their vacations at four resorts of the island, and six of them live in the aforesaid hotel,” Russian Ambassador to Cuba Mikhail Kamynin said on Friday. The embassy formed a crisis staff immediately after reports about financial problems of the Russian tour operator. The staff was led by the Russian Consul General in Havana and its contact information was conveyed to the media and the hotels where ITC tourists stayed.
In turn, Russian Union of the Travel Industry press secretary Irina Tyurina said that the ITC tourists evicted from Paradisus Princesa del Mar were permitted to stay until Monday on condition money for their accommodation would be transferred by then. She said a Moscow travel agency informed ITC that the Russian tourists were being evicted from a hotel in Cuba. “The rooms of 43 tourists were blocked and their belongings were taken. What is more, the hotel administration refused to return their passports, which is against the law,” Tyurina said.
The travel agency appealed to the Russian consulate general in Cuba but to no avail, Tyurina said. “Only after the Russian Union of the Travel Industry appealed to the Federal Tourism Agency, the Federal Tourism Agency contacted Russian Ambassador to Cuba Mikhail Kamynin and he started to help the resolution of the problem,” he said.
In the end, the tourists got their passports back and were permitted to stay at the hotel until Monday on the condition the fees would be paid by then, Tyurina said.