Suspended Russian tour operator pledges to pay off local partners
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After Lanta-Tur Voyach, one of the leading Russian tour operators, halted its operation on January 27, thousands of its customers were reported to be stuck in Vietnam, Thailand and India.
Russian tourists queued up to get on their plane at Tan San Nhat Airport on January 31 Photo: VNN
According to figures released on February 1, Lanta-Viet, a local branch of Lanta-Tur, has yet to pay a debt of VND10 billion (US$480,000) to its partner hotels and resorts in Mui Ne before the Lunar New Year.
Lanta-Viet will pay off local partners
In a meeting on Wednesday at Bamboo village resort in Mui Ne, Russian Consul General to Ho Chi Minh City Vladimir Borisovich Klimov said that Vneshtorgbank (VTB) will grant a loan to Lanta-Tur so that the tour operator can settle its debts in foreign countries including Vietnam.
The bank made the announcement Wednesday after Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin ordered the Minister of Sport, Tourism and Youth Policy Vitaly Mutko to resolve all problems related to tourists left stranded abroad after the operator’s suspension.
Klimov said tourists who are unable to pay for their way home will be supported by the consulate. Others can continue their holiday until February 8 as agreed in the contract.
Konstantin Prikhodko, general director of Lanta-Viet, arrived in Mui Ne on Wednesday afternoon and attended a meeting with its partners and the press.
Explaining the vanishing of Lanta-Viet after the closure of its headquarters in Russia, Prikhodko said all the staff were asked to leave the office to ensure safety for their life and properties. Several Lanta-Tur offices in Thailand and Russia had earlier been smashed by angry tourists.
Prikhodko also pledged that after Lanta-Tur has liquidated all debts and given instructions to its local branches, Lanta-Viet will contact its partners to resolve problems.
Four airliners to bring Russian tourists home
The Russian embassy in Vietnam on Wednesday also posted a press release saying that the Russian side has worked with representatives of Vietnam Airlines, Aeroflot, S7 and Transaero and these four airliners have agreed to help bring Russian tourists home.
According to initial information, all the airliners have received enough money for air fares from Lanta-Tur customers.
The Russian embassy said that they have cooperated with the consulate in Ho Chi Minh City and set up a committee to address emergency problems.
Currently, there are 309 tourists stranded in Vietnam, 184 of whom are still in Mui Ne.
The Binh Thuan province’s People Committee has issued an announcement to local tourism companies, urging them to treat these tourists normally and not to prevent them from leaving the hotel, keep their passports or ask them to pay accommodation fees.
Russian company Biblio-Globus has agreed to transport Russian tourists back to Ho Chi Minh City after a request by the Russian consulate.
The committee has drawn up a schedule to bring tourists who are stranded in Mui Ne back to Russia by February 10. The transportation of Russian tourists to Ho Chi Minh City, allocation of hotels, customs procedures at Tan Son Nhat airport will be under surveillance of representatives of Russian embassy and consulate.