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MOSCOW, May 13. /ITAR-TASS/. Visa delays have hit hundreds of Russian holidaymakers unable to travel with pre-paid packages to Great Britain since March, Russian Union of Travel Industry spokeswoman Irina Tyurina told Itar-Tass on Tuesday.
“Passports and visas are often granted after the pre-planned date of the person’s departure. There have even been cases when passports were delayed up to a three-month period,” she said, noting that tour operators were given no information about the progress of processing and were unable even to suggest that clients delay their trip.
Tyurina said a group of Russian schoolchildren was unable to travel to Britain for the May holidays as their passports were issued only on May 8 despite having applied for visas in February.
Problems started when a new service, Teleperformance, took over management of British visa centres in March, she said. Tour operators received no information about visa delays, insurance policies to cover cancelled trips were not triggered and clients lost their money.
Industry representatives are asking the British embassy's visa service to resolve the mounting problem.