MOSCOW, July 4. /TASS/. Russia’s oldest tour operator Natalie Tours faced liquidity problems a few weeks ago, the company’s president Vladimir Vorobyov told reporters.
According to him, the company lacks funds to settle with its partners.
"A few weeks ago we faced a crisis with liquidity, when the company became short of its own funds to pay for services in a timely manner," he told reporters.
The tour operator owes several million dollars to its partners and creditors, according to Vorobyev.
"The volume of loan facilities to several partners reaches several million dollars," he said without mentioning the exact figure.
On Wednesday, the company announced that it cancels all previously confirmed tours from July 4 to September 30, 2018. It admitted that it has a liquidity crisis and has to look for an external investor.
The president of the company said Natalie Tours is looking for an investor.
"We are considering an option of attracting the investor over the last five years," the top manager said. "Our two main beneficiaries are Natalia Vorobyova and I… We divided responsibilities: I am in charge of the business lately and Natalia attempts to find and attract the investor," he said.
Up to 100% in the tour operator can be sold, the top manager said. "We held very serious talks in the last year with two major groups of companies from UAE, attempted to approach two potential investors in Russia. However, we regrettably failed to attract the investor either because the outbound tourist market is not interesting or because of other reasons. Probably due to the unstable situation," Vorobyov said.
Natalie Tours plans to resume sales of tours from October 1, the company’s president said.
"We expect to continue to send tourists to resorts from October 1. Now all sales are off. In the coming week or two we will hold talks with all service providers. We will resume cooperation on those destinations where we find no risk of failure to provide services to our tourists," he said.
He also said that from July 5 the tour operator will offer compensation mechanisms to its clients.
"We are working to ensure that all tourists who were affected by this situation received compensations from us in full. We will offer various mechanisms for obtaining compensation, including non-monetary ones. Starting from tomorrow, various compensation mechanisms will be offered," he said.
Natalie Tours is one of the largest Russian tour operators. The company has been operating on the market since 1992 selling tours to several tens of countries.
On June 29, Natalie Tours sent a letter to travel agencies about cancelation of charter flights from June 30 due to low demand for tours to Barcelona, Rimini, Catania, Naples, Antalya and Heraklion and offered refunding to the affected tourists.
At the same time co-founder of Natalie Tours Vladimir Vorobyev wrote on Facebook that due to financial disagreements, the company’s Spanish partner W2Meet stopped cooperation with Natalie Tours and began to cancel orders. This prompted Natalie tours to suspend charters to Spain. According to Dmitry Gorin, a representative of the transport committee of Tourpomosch (Tour Asistance) association, more than 1,000 clients of Natalie Tours expect refunding for canceled charter programs.