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Wednesday, 6 August 2014

16,000 Russian's tourists stranded abroad

16,000 Russians stranded abroad 

Russia is scrambling to bring home nearly 16,000 tourists who are still stranded abroad following a travel company's abrupt collapse amid economic strains related to the ongoing crisis in Ukraine.
Oleg Safonov, the acting head of Rostourism, Russia's national tourism agency, told journalists that officials are hoping to have everyone home by the end of the week.
At one point, as many as 27,000 tourists were thought to be marooned in places such as Bulgaria, Egypt and Tunisia after the Labirint (Labyrinth) travel company suspended operations over the weekend.
Russian tourists have been stranded in Bulgaria and other holiday hotspots after four operators went bust
Russian tourists have been stranded in Bulgaria and other holiday hotspots after four operators went bust
Russian officials have managed to bring a third of them home after making emergency arrangements but thousands more are still waiting for return tickets.
Labirint is the fourth Russian tour operator to fold in the past three weeks, leaving more than 50,000 tourists stranded, as the industry suffers during one of the busiest travel periods of the year.
Citing a drop in customer demand, Labirint blamed its troubles on 'the negative political and economic situation' and the sliding value of the rouble.

    The company had amassed a debt of nearly £23million owed to a subsidiary of Aeroflot, tourism officials said.
    The EU-US sanctions have already led to the grounding of budget airline Dobrolet, an offshoot of Aeroflot, and Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev is threatening to retaliate.
    Vedomosti, a Russian language business daily, reported that Russia may restrict or ban European airlines from flying over Siberia on Asian routes.

    After losing their way home, dozens of Russian tourists have reportedly been kicked out of their hotel rooms in Turkey.
    Turkey's Dogan news agency reported that 44 tourists, including 13 children, have been sleeping at the airport in the city of Antalya because they cannot afford return tickets.
    The group staged a protest and 'begged' for money to pay for their flights home, the news agency reported.
    Russia's NTV channel aired video of Russian tourists throwing furniture and fighting with security guards after being kicked out of a Turkish hotel where they had paid for an all-inclusive holiday.

    In Greece, another popular destination for Russian holidaymakers, the Association of Greek Tourism Enterprises is encouraging hoteliers to allow Russian customers to remain in their rooms.
    Rostourism, meanwhile, is threatening to create a blacklist of hotels that mistreat Russian tourists.
    The agency says its unofficial data suggests the number of Russians travelling abroad has dropped between 15 and 30 per cent, depending on destination, and the number of foreign tourists visiting Russia is down by as much as a fifth from last year.
    Medvedev compared the tour operators to 'pyramid schemes' and ordered authorities to monitor their finances and close the ones without sufficient reserves.
    Authorities are investigating Labirint and Neva, another tour company, for possible fraud.