Russian tourists stranded including 340 in Phuket

PHUKET: The bankruptcy of one of the largest tour operators in Russia has left thousands of Russian tourists stranded around the globe, including 340 in Phuket.

Soopakij Chearavanont, Russian Honorary Consul for Greater Phuket, said the sudden bankruptcy of Lanta Tour Voyage has cost Phuket resorts from tens to hundreds of thousands of baht.

Most of the Russians stranded bought tours of 10 days or longer, staying at resorts in Patong and Kata-Karon, he said.

Some of the tourists have already checked out. The consulate’s mission now is to take care of those still in Phuket by negotiating 40% discounts on room rates. Tourist Police are also involved in the negotiations, he said.

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The hotels will suffer more than the tourists, who can be reimbursed through their travel insurance when they return to Russia. Most of the Russians stranded have enough cash on hand to comfortably cope with the ordeal, he said.

Mr Soopakij said the scandal was a tough lesson for Phuket hotel owners about the Russian market, which is now the single largest source of inbound tourists to Phuket.

Russian authorities will have to take steps both in Russia and its outbound markets to better guarantee hotels and other tourism businesses are reimbursed for services provided on credit, he said.

Meanwhile, a source familiar with the Russian market in Phuket said the collapse of Lanta Tour has left over 20 “sitting guides” out of work and unpaid for work already performed.

The sitting guides were hired at a rate of 800 baht per day to ride along with the tour group in order to meet Thai labor law requirements, the source said.

Phuket News

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