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Russian travel companies running risks of bankruptcy over instability in Egypt - tourism official

August 16, 2013, 20:05 UTC+3

According to Pisarevsky, insurance companies are unlikely to cover all the losses travel market players might sustain

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MOSCOW, August 16 (Itar-Tass) - Russia’s Federal Tourism Agency does not rule out that some of travel companies in Russia might go bankrupt because of the current development in Egypt.

“The situation is very difficult,” Yevgeny Pisarevsky, a deputy head of the Federal Tourism Agency, told Itar-Tass on Friday. “As an agency responsible for the development of tourism and the protection of Russian tourists abroad, we do not want this to happen. But such risks do exist.”

According to Pisarevsky, insurance companies are unlikely to cover all the losses travel market players might sustain. “It is neither the liability of tourists nor that of travel companies,” he noted. “Obligations are not fulfilled for reasons beyond the control of either party. And once there is no responsibility, neither are there grounds for insurers to pay.” Companies, in his words, are sustaining losses from business activity, which is aimed at deriving profits, and are running their business at their own risks. “All the companies active on this market were aware of their risks,” he said. “Moreover, they were warned a month ago that the situation could develop under the worst scenario and that tensions could further escalate. They were recommended to shrink their programmes. Some did it, some - not.”

Pisarevsky also said that it was the job of travel operators and transport companies to draw up evacuation plans. “Yesterday, we agreed with travel operators to draw a list of tourists who are vacationing in Egypt,” he noted. “Later on, we will agree this information with Russia’s Air Transport Agency and hand it over to the emergencies ministry.”

Earlier, Maya Limidze, the executive director of the Russian Association of Travel Operators, put a preliminary estimate of losses Russian travel companies might sustain from instability in Egypt at 35 million U.S. dollars. According to Lomidze, Russian travel companies are selling tours to Egypt to late September and October, and even to early November. “According to rough estimates, as many as 50,000 vouchers have already been sold,” she said, adding that an average price of a tour to Egypt was 600-700 U.S. dollars per person.

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