MOSCOW, April 8. /TASS/. The Russian government has allocated up to 3.5 bln rubles ($46.24 mln) from the reserve fund to reimburse tour operators part of the costs due to coronavirus, according to the government’s website.
The funds will be used to reimburse expenses incurred in implementing measures - under agreements on sales of tourist products in international tourism under the limits of coronavirus infection; returning tourists from countries with an unfavorable situation in connection with the infection, the statement said.
The Federal Tourism Agency will monitor the use of these budget allocations and submit a report before October 1, 2020.
"We expect that the provided subsidies will allow us to compensate at least part of the costs and fulfill our obligations to tourists. Air transportation makes up on average 50% of the cost of the tour package, so this measure will support the business in this difficult situation," Head of the Federal Agency for Tourism Zarina Doguzova said.
Subsidies will allow tour operators to accelerate the return of funds to tourists for canceled tours, the Ministry of Economic Development told TASS.
Doguzova added that the Agency is developing a program to restore the tourism industry after the epidemiological situation returns to normal. "Now, together with the industry, we are developing a program to restore the tourism industry after the situation normalizes," she said.
In particular, measures to stimulate domestic and international tourism are discussed, Doguzova added. The drop in load and bookings in hotels in some regions reaches 95-100%, she said.
In late December 2019, Chinese officials notified the World Health Organization (WHO) about the outbreak of a previously unknown pneumonia in the city of Wuhan, in central China. Since then, cases of the novel coronavirus - named COVID-19 by the WHO - have been reported in every corner of the globe, including Russia.
On March 11, 2020, the WHO declared the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic. According to the latest statistics, over 1,400,000 people have been infected worldwide and more than 82,000 deaths have been reported. That said, over 300,000 individuals have recovered from the illness across the globe.
To date, a total of 8,672 coronavirus cases have been confirmed in Russia, with 580 patients having recovered from the virus. Moscow accounts for the majority of cases (5,841). The country’s latest data indicates 63 fatalities nationwide. Earlier, the Russian government set up an Internet hotline to keep the public updated on the coronavirus situation.