Number of regional travel agents to go down because of legislation changes

Director of Wings travel club Natalia Oborina said at a press conference last Friday that the number of Yekaterinburg-based travel agents was going down.

'Changes made to the law on travel services will result in most tours being ordered from the agents operating in Moscow. This could be good for tourists, as our Moscow-based counterparts are normally on less limited budgets, they have to compete much more fiercely and therefore are not likely to raise the prices dramatically. One bad thing about the new regulations is that Moscow travel agents usually service mass travel destinations, so it is not clear as of yet how they are going to deal with the so-called exclusive tours,’ Ms Oborina explained.

In the meantime, Rostourism published a list of travel agents already included in the United Federal Register; quite remarkably, there were no companies from Yekaterinburg on the list. Local travel agents, however, believe they are still going to be able to meet the deadlines and send in all the papers and applications in time.

'We have some time before June 1, 2007, so I think we’ll make it to the register. We are currently busy collecting all the documents; we also have to think of whether we shall use a bank or an insurer to provide the obligatory customer guarantee,’ says Marina Bondar of Sputnik.

At the same time, the registration procedure itself is far from being perfect: Rostourism has been getting hundreds of applications it has no time to process; only 10% of 128 applications have actually been dealt with so far.


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