HomeTourismThe safe haven of domestic tourism was rocked by the scandalous collapse...

The safe haven of domestic tourism was rocked by the scandalous collapse of a tour operator

A criminal case has been opened against the management of the Moscow tour operator Volga Line (River Cruises LLC): charges of fraud have been brought against Olga and Dmitry Steksov – in on television “Vesti” on June 9 named both persons involved in the criminal scheme.

“Olga Steksova, General Director of River Cruises LLC, accused of fraud, listens to the verdict, nervously clenching her fingers. The court determined a preventive measure for her accomplice Dmitry Steksov – he was taken into custody. There is a long analysis of all the episodes of the criminal scheme ahead,” says the voice-over, referring to a video from the Moscow City Court.

The prosecutor’s office also got involved in the case. “The prosecutor’s office of the Southern Administrative District is monitoring the prosecution of employees of a travel company who fraudulently stole citizens’ funds. A man and a woman have been charged with committing fraud,” said the head of the press service, Lyudmila Nefedova.

The reason for the investigation was numerous cases of failure to fulfill obligations on the part of the tour operator. As TurDom reported, last June Volga Line canceled cruises on the Alexander Svirsky motor ship. This was preceded evacuation tourists from its board, since the generator broke down right during the cruise. Problems also arose with two more ships managed by the tour operator. Tourists were promised to postpone their vacation to 2024, but this did not happen – by the beginning of navigation, all three liners had not arrived in Moscow. The tour operator’s website stopped working, and the office in Moscow was closed.

The expert with whom the editors consulted calls the criminal case a logical development of the situation: “That year, Volga Line sold cruises on the Alexander Svirsky, which broke down after the first voyage and never went out again. Another ship, “Mamin-Sibiryak,” departed barely 30% of the stated schedule. That is, both ships were “in the trash,” but instead of repairing, “Volga Line” sold cruises on them for this year. The third liner, Bashkortostan, had a new owner, but it was also being sold. Navigation began, not a single ship, naturally, left, the office disappeared, tourists had no money, no cruises.”

Another expert believes that it is “high time to start a criminal case,” since this is not the first time that the company has deceived tourists. The defendants in the case are associated, for example, with the company Rechturflot, which left clients without rest in 2014. You can also find on the Internet statements about salary arrears.

According to observers, Volga Line owes tourists tens of millions of rubles. Only through the Moscow Rospotrebnadzor to court sent 77 claims for 16 million rubles. The bailiffs portal contains 86 records of enforcement proceedings. However, getting the money back will be problematic. Judging by the fact that the company’s accounts in all banks are blocked due to tax debts, the tour operator has no way to pay.

Problematic Moscow company listed in the federal register presented as River Cruises LLC (not to be confused with the company of the same name in Samara. – Ed.). The editors sent a request to the Ministry of Economic Development with a request to clarify whether the ministry plans to exclude the tour operator for systematic failure to fulfill obligations. Theoretically, this would allow tourists to turn to the sponsor – JSC Solidarnost (Ivanovo). However, even if the case is recognized as insured (this is prevented by the presence of a criminal case. – Ed.), compensation will be symbolic. Volga Line’s civil liability is insured for only 500 thousand rubles. This is the minimum financial security allowed by law for domestic tourism tour operators.

Obviously, a high-profile scandal that has reached the federal level creates a negative background and can lead to tougher liability for companies in the field of domestic tourism. It will also be more difficult for industry lobbyists to explain to the regulator why tour operators in Russia should be exempted from the Electronic Tour.

As for tourists, they are advised to choose “trusted companies” before purchasing a tour on TV. In other words, read reviews.

Source: Tourdom

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