MOSCOW, August 30 (Itar-Tass) — Russia’s El-Voyage tourist company has suspended its operations, the press service of the Russian Association of Tourist Operators (ATOR) reported on Thursday.
“Andrei Ognev, the El-Voyage general director, contacted us on August 30. He said that his company was facing financial hardships and hadn’t paid for the Moscow-Hurgada-Moscow charter flight scheduled for August 30. Therefore, the flight couldn’t leave Moscow. He added that the company didn’t have financial possibilities to pay for these flights and also for the flights scheduled for the next few days,” the Russian Association of Tourist Operators said.
Ninety-one El-Voyage tourists were supposed to have left for Hurgada on August 30. All of them have been warned that their trips were cancelled. Two hundred and twelve El-Voyage tourists are staying in Egypt.
The Kolavia air company carried out the Moscow-Hurgada-Moscow charter flights for El-Voyage on Thursday. The tour operator ordered them from the Russia Charter Center air broker.
“Unfortunately, the relations between the tour operator and the air broker didn’t proceed according to standard schemes. The tour operator paid for the flight in arrears: on the eve of the departure without making a mandatory deposit for return flights,” a source at the Russian Association of Tourist Operators clarified.
The chain was launched on August 9. Kolavia has made only three flights. Since no deposits for return flights have been made, the air broker issued tickets only in one-way. Consequently, no one has paid for the return tickets to tourists trapped in Egypt.
The receiving party told the 212 tourists in Egypt on Wednesday evening that their departure had been put off until September 3. However, they didn’t clarify who was going to cover the expenses for their sojourn in Egypt. The situation got worse on Thursday when the receiving party said that El-Voyage owed them money and that they were going to collect the debt from the tourists.
Ognev said that El-Voyage was planning to transfer part of the overdue sum for the ground services. But the receiving party is not willing to make any concessions so far. A representative of the consular section of the Russian Embassy in Cairo has got in touch with the Russian Association of Tourist Operators and promised to try to reach an agreement with the receiving party.
Ognev said that El-Voyage was trying to get loans from banks but there was no encouraging news so far. About 250 people will be unable to use the company’s tours: 91 tourists didn’t leave on August 30; 84 tourists will be unable to fly to Egypt on September 6 and about 40 tourists will be unable to depart on September 13 and 20.
The Russian Association of Tourist Operators warns all tourists who have bought tours from El-Voyage that none of them will be carried out until El-Voyage announces that it renews its operations.
The Russian Association of Tourist Operators, the Russia Charter Center air broker and the AlfaStrakhovaniye insurance company are considering possibilities for returning the stranded Russians home.
All El-Voyage tourists have the right to ask the AlfaStrakhovaniye insurance company, in which the tour operator has a guarantee of 30 million rubles, for compensation.