Natalie Tours: more guarantees won’t solve problems

I think the new development on the increased financial guarantees for tour operators is only half the battle. Sadly, tourism is a kind of business where there are a lot of illegitimate tour operators. No one can forbid a travel agent to book a ticket and a hotel room on their own. There are no regulations on this market,’ Director of Natalie Tours Yekaterinburg representation Oleg Khiger told UrBC.

Now the prospective changes in the tourist legislation will make it obligatory for tour operators whose annual turnover falls short of 500m RUR to ensure financial guarantees of 100m; companies whose turnover comes to more than 500m RUR a year and over 1bn RUR a year will have to provide 200m RUR and 200m RUR plus 5% off every next 100m RUR worth of financial guarantees, respectively.

As for the larger tour operators, this is a sort of market where no increase in the amount of financial guarantees can fully cover all the expenses in case the company collapses. For one, Pegas-touristik is now expanding its turnover by 300%. If something happens, the drama will unfold on a much greater scale than that of Capital Tour,’ Oleg Khiger said.

‘The lawmakers will certainly feel more relaxed with the new amendments, but this is not going to solve the problems of the tourist market. The customers themselves must stop believing in free lunch, that is, in enormous discounts. They come to such agents in the hope of saving money and then end up in courts. One such example is Boomerang, the travel agent who promised greater discounts than those offered by the tour operator. Their first victims are already suing them,’ he noted.

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