10 Mar 2022 22:01

Russian tour operators to rescue all stranded clients in next few weeks - Rosturizm

MOSCOW. March 10 (Interfax) - All group tourists stuck abroad will be returned to Russia in the next few weeks, the head of the Federal Agency for Tourism, Zarina Doguzova, said on Telegram.

"Currently, tour operators are extending, at their own expense, the tourists' accommodation and choosing suitable options for layover flights to bring them home. Clients are already coming back to Russia en masse. Our plan is to get all tourists who travelled via tour operators return to Russia in the coming weeks," she said.

She recalled that while abroad, tourists should keep in touch with their tour operator's representative.

The Rossiya airline company told Interfax that its tour operator partner Biiblio Globus had completed the repatriation of its tourists from popular foreign resorts.

"The last flight, from Egypt, landed on March 8. In total, Rossiya flew some 13,000 passengers from Egypt, Goa and UAE between March 5 and 8," the carrier's press service said.

Pegas Tourisik also repatriated its clients, more than 14,000 people, according to the Russian Tour Operators' Association (ATOR).

Anex Tour plans to bring all its clients back by March 12. ATOR said the operator organized daily repatriation flights operated by its affiliated airline Azur Air. Over 12,000 tourists were returned between February 28 and March 8, from Cuba, Maldives, Dominican Republic, Egypt, Turkey, UAE, and Vietnam. Also, efforts are underway to return Russian tourists from Sri Lanka and the Seychelles to which they had flown using regular flights.

"Those Russians who are holidaying on their own and had their regular flight cancelled can return to Russia with an Azur Air charter flight. Anex Tour currently has a sale on for charter flights to Russia from Turkey, UAE, the Maldives and Egypt," ATOR said.

Intourist has brought back two-thirds of its clients who were stranded when all flights were cancelled, ATOR said. Some are also using Azur Air to return. Most package tours are due to end by March 14, ATOR said.

Companies which sent tourists abroad on regular flights are also rescuing them. Their clients found themselves stranded abroad after several Russian airlines including S7, Ural Airlines, Pobeda and Aeroflot cancelled their flights. Most people have already returned, according to ATOR data.

"ICS Travel Group has 50 people remaining in Bulgaria, who flew in with Bulgaria Air. Also, several dozen tourists are in Egypt. All tourists whose tour accommodation ended have been accommodated at the expense of their tour operator. Because an overwhelming number of stranded tourists are travelers with return tickets for the flights of regular carriers, the company is awaiting Rosaviatsia's [Federal Air Transport Agency] decisions on the withdrawal of those tourists," ATOR said.

In total, there were an estimated 160,000 Russian tourists abroad when the foreign flights were halted, Rosturizm said.