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OSCOW, April 22 (Itar-Tass) —— The Ideal World tour operator intentionally deceived its tourists; it had problems with floating capital, Russian Union of Travel Industry press secretary Irina Tyurina told Itar-Tass on Sunday.
“Lately the Ideal World was selling its tours on discount tour websites at 50% of their initial cost and offered 30% commission to tour agents. Such discount rates are totally unheard of and extremely big for our market. Despite of dumping practices on the tourism market, no one will ever offer you 30% discount,” she said.
“Obviously, the company had floating capital problems. It took money from tourists and stopped answering phone calls when troubles began,” Tyurina said.
The Russian Union of Travel Industry is currently unable to get in touch with the Ideal World office and the company owner, Tatiana Kavalerova. “Phones are disconnected in the company’s main office. We cannot get in touch with the owner either. Signs on the office door are also gone. It seems the owner does not want to communicate with anyone,” Tyurina said.
The Ideal World is rather well known; it has been on the tourist market for a rather long time, Tyurina said.
“The main destination covered by the Ideal World is Israel. As far as we know, the company owes money to plenty of host companies in Israel, who have stopped doing business with it,” she said.
The Federal Tourism Service reported that 54 tourists of the Ideal World were unable to board Aeroflot and Transaero planes in Israel. Thirty-eight of them were supposed to have Aeroflot tickets and the rest – tickets of Transaero.
The Israeli representative of the Ideal World told the tourists she had just been fired and would not handle their problems.
Transaero told Itar-Tass that the tourists had no electronic tickets; instead they produced ticket booking certificates issued by the tour operator. It appeared that the booking was annulled because the tour operator did not pay for the tickets. Nine or ten tourists were offered to buy Transaero tickets and boarded the flight.
In turn, the Russian Union of Travel Industry said the airline, which brought Ideal World tour operator clients to Israel, must bring them back home irrespective of the tour operator’s payment for the tourists’ tickets.
“I was surprised to hear that the tourists were stranded at an Israeli airport. An airline brought them to Israel and the tourists had tickets, which meant the airline must bring them back home irrespective the tickets were paid for or not,” Tyurina said.
The Ideal World offers tours to Israel, Jordan, the Czech Republic, Indonesia, Ukraine and Belarus. It has offices in Moscow, St. Petersburg, Yekaterinburg and Kiev.