MOSCOW, November 10. At the moment the loss of the Russian tour operators from the ban on flights to Egypt are estimated at 1.5 billion rubles, but this figure is not final. About this informed the official representative of the Russian Union of travel industry (PCT) Irina Turina.
“Tour operators have identified approximate amount, it amounted to about 1.5 billion rubles will be major losses as a result of the fact that they were forced to chase the empty aircraft to Egypt. It borrowed money from tourists (who paid for tours – approx. ed.), i.e. this money should be returned, and yet at the same time to pay for the flight,” she said, noting that the amount still to be specified.
The program paid up to March
According to Tyurina, Russian tour operator paid for the flight program to Egypt until March and are asked to either return the funds or give them the opportunity to use them for payment of flights to other destinations.
“Tour operators have paid for the flight program to Egypt until March, but the program stopped. So the money must either be returned or be given the opportunity to use them for flights in other areas,” – said Turina.
However, she found it difficult to identify the total amount paid for flight programs in Egypt.
Previously, the Association of tour operators of Russia (ATOR) has written to Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich the letter in which he asks the government to consider providing state guarantees to tour operators due to the suspension of flights to Egypt. In addition, tour operators are asking the government for assistance in addressing issues with carriers. One of the major issues is the ability to transfer already paid for flights for a later date without penalties from the airlines.
Preliminary assessment tour of the community if the ban on flights to Egypt will last more than 2-3 months, damage to the tourism business may be about $200 million.
In ATOR indicated that market participants until November 12 will analyze the amount cancelled, rebooked and “postponed” tours. The only problem, according to ATOR, the timing of providing the data.
“In order to assess the amount of costs, for example, canceled tours (cost of returns) required stats, even for a few days quite difficult to collect. Information from operators is updated daily and will probably have to apply a method of statistical sampling when data is evaluated for some representative group,” said the Association.
The head of the Federal tourism Agency Oleg Safonov pointed out that because of the ban on flights to Egypt before the industry raises two major problems – refund from the airlines and paid by the operators of the advances of the Egyptian hoteliers.
State support of tour operators
As previously reported, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev instructed the government to prepare a programme of support to operators affected by the suspension of air links.
According to Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich, a lot will depend on how will be resolved the issues with tourists who want to use alternative routes and to postpone the trip, and who will require money.
“Based on these estimates, we formulate the support program, what it will be premature at the moment”, – said Deputy Prime Minister.
According to him, in support of the Russian tour operators are considered including the expansion of domestic tourism.
However, Medvedev did not rule out the assistance of travel agencies at the expense of the special Fund.