On April 29th at 11 a.m. perplexed tour operators and their clients came to the Embassy. According to Karen Goncharov, Director of DSBW, travel market representatives tried to contact the Consul by mobile phone but they did not succeed.
Many tours to France was planned for April 29th and 30th, moreover, around 50% of tourists arrived from the Russian regions. These tourists had to leave home, as they did not receive visas. At the moment travel market players who specialize in tours to France are concerned about two main issues.
Firstly, who will make compensations to those who could not spend May Holidays in France? Given the fact that tourists’ foreign passports are still in the Embassy, people will not be able to travel to some non-visa country instead of France. Due to force-majeure situation compensation is hardly possible. Besides, French hotels have a right to require 100% fine from their Russian partners, as tourists did not arrive on a planned date. The estimated gross loss of travel agencies is 1 million Euro. Meanwhile, Russian tour operating companies are taking measures to solve the situation. ‘We negotiated with the incoming company and those tourists who paid for May tours will go to the country later’, said Karen Goncharov.
Secondly, will the Embassy issue visas for May 3rd and 4th on May 2nd? Thus, Svetlana Kurkovich, PR Director of Inna Tour, said: ‘representatives of the French Embassy assured us that all visas for these dates will be issued on May 2nd’. On May 2nd travel market players plan to gather at the French Embassy at 9.30 a.m. and to receive visas for their clients. Meanwhile, experts are concerned that the strike on April 278th might have unfavourable consequences. For example, Sergey Shpilko, President of Russian Union of Travel Industry, pointed out: ‘the strik might affect the situation at the French destination in summer. Moreover, other European Consulates might follow the example of the French Embassy’.
BANKO will continue reporting on the development of events.