Russian President Putin raised the issue of returning money to citizens for failed tours

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Question refunds to tourists for tours canceled after February 24 were raised at a meeting of the Council for Strategic Development and National Projects with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Russian tourists who bought trips abroad this year but were unable to travel due to sanctions on the aviation industry will be refunded or offered to replace them with a trip within the country until the end of 2022, Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Chernyshenko said on Monday.

« We are now supporting tour operators to either refund before the end of the year or replace it with affordable Russian offers. We will finish this work by the end of the year,” he said.

In turn, the president stressed that we are talking about a difference of a couple of tens of billions. “We need to sort this out,” Vladimir Putin concluded.

At the same time, according to ATOR analysts, taking into account the outstanding obligations for “covid” tours purchased before March 31, 2020, the need to make all returns before the end of 2023, without state support, it may negatively affect the tourism market.

It was previously reported that the obligations of tour operators for canceled tours abroad exceed 60 billion rubles .

According to Rostourism in March 2022, since the beginning of the year, tour operators have sold tours abroad (mainly to Egypt and Turkey) for 32 billion rubles, but not they were all paid in full.

According to the ATOR Analytical Service, to date, out of the couple of tens of billions of rubles indebtedness of Russian tour operators mentioned by the President for tours canceled due to the geopolitical crisis and anti-Russian sanctions, a fairly large part has already been repaid. 

The remaining amount of such debt now, according to expert estimates, is 4-5 billion rubles, but that's not all. Together with “covid” tours, the total amount of obligations of tour operators to tourists is estimated by analysts at about 8-9 billion rubles, and this amount is already a very tangible burden for the market.

The situation with refunds and replacement of tours with an equivalent product is now also aggravated by a serious shortage of air transportation on open foreign destinations (Turkey, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates) and the impossibility of transferring tours to many destinations that are actually closed to the Russian market.   

Therefore, in order to avoid market destabilization, direct government support is needed to fully repay such a volume of debt by the end of 2022, the interviewed experts indicate .  

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