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Russian tour operator suspended, tourists stranded in Vietnam

Hundreds of Russian tourists are stuck Vietnam after Lanta-Tur Voyach, one of the biggest tour operators in Russia, halted its operations last Friday.

Photo: Internet

 

A number of customers who bought tours with Lanta-Tur Voyach are reportedly to remain at some Moscow airports since Russian airliner Aeroflot also stopped working with the operator after the suspension.

Irina Tiurina, press secretary at Russia’s National League of Travel, said the organization was unable to contact the tour operator’s managers. Also, there was no solution regarding debts and negotiations in a meeting involving the company’s CEOs held last Thursday.

Tiurina added that thousands of Lanta-Tur Voyach tourists are currently stuck overseas, and the national insurer Ingosstrax will handle the company’s financial debts.

Lanta-Tur Voyach is one of the leading Russian travel companies, working with more than 6000 agencies in Russia, the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) countries, and the Baltic region.

In Vietnam, the tour operator formed a joint-venture with a local travel agency and created the Lanta An company to serve Russian tourists three years ago. At the end of 2010, they changed their name to Lanta Viet after the joint-venture encountered many problems.

In Vietnam, Mui Ne in the coastal province of Phan Thiet is a popular beach destination for Russian tourists. According to the Binh Thuan Tourism Association, Lanta-tur Voyach customers account for 20 percent of Russian tourists here.

Nguyen Van Khoa, chairman of the association, said that before the Lunar New Year, many local resorts, hotels and airlines, who were partners of the tour operator, experienced problems in their financial dealings with Lanta Viet and Lanta-tur Voyayach in Vietnam.

Lanta Viet said that they would liquidate all debts to local partners, however, they announced that they were unable to pay off last Saturday.

Khoa said he had demanded partners of Lanta Viet give an exact number of Russians stuck in Vietnam and find a resolution to bring them home.

“All tourists have bought travel insurance and they will pay off the debts with Lanta Viet partners in Binh Thuan by themselves. After that, they can bring the receipts back to Russia and have them refunded,” Khoa said.

“However, there are some customers who are unable to pay for accommodation, food and transportation back to Ho Chi Minh City to go back to Russia.”

He said the Binh Thuan Tourism Association will work with Lanta Viet representatives to find a way to bring stranded tourists back to Russia.

According to Tuoi Tre sources, a head representative at Lanta Viet arrived in Ho Chi Minh City last Sunday and will fly with a Russian diplomat to Hanoi and seek help from Russian embassy.

Meanwhile, Le Van Nghia, a representative of Russian Airliner Transaero, said his company would provide free flights for tourists who are still stuck in Vietnam.

VietNamNet/Tuoi Tre

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