HomeTourismTour operators were deprived of subsidies for charter tours in Russia

Tour operators were deprived of subsidies for charter tours in Russia

Almost a year after the Russian Government allocated a significantly reduced budget tranche for subsidizing charter transportation of tourists around Russia, it remains unclear whether tour operators will be able to take advantage of them.

According to by order Cabinet of Ministers, 250 million rubles. compensation was due in 2023, and the same amount in 2024. The subsidy procedure was agreed upon back in May 2021 – by the government resolution No. 799. With these documents, tour operators were given the green light for charters in Russia, and they ordered them last year, naturally, in the hope of receiving compensation from the state for part of the cost (50%). For example, six programs for which about 70 million rubles were to be returned from the budget – to Sheregesh, Dagestan, Buryatia and a number of other routes were carried out by Fun & Sun. All that was left to do was to provide a package of documents confirming that the flights had been completed and receive the amounts due. However, the Ministry of Economic Development until the end of 2023 never announced dates for accepting documents from tour operators, despite repeated requests from market participants on this matter. “And in December it suddenly became clear that the money intended for subsidies was returned to the budget,” an informed source told the TourDom.ru portal. At the same time, he drew attention to the fact that the vast majority of subsidized charters were placed in priority regions. The list of destinations was approved by Rostourism.

As market participants say, complete uncertainty regarding the payment of compensation undermines faith in partnerships between business and government in the implementation of charter programs. After all, tour operators invested their own funds in the expectation that part of the money would be returned to them. Moreover, taking into account future reimbursement from the budget, prices for tours were also set – the main beneficiaries of the subsidies were tourists. For example, if half the cost of a tour package to a certain region is a charter flight and 50% of its cost is returned from the budget, the tour can be sold at a quarter price. It is not a fact that in a situation of uncertainty, tour operators will decide to offer charter flights around Russia this year. Or the cost of a vacation with such transportation will increase significantly, because now there is no certainty about compensation, and without including all costs in the price, there is a risk of simply remaining at a loss.

By the way, the issue of reimbursement to tour operators for subsidized charter flights operated in 2022 has still not been resolved. Intourist, for example, is owed about 30 million rubles, Fun & Sun – all 150 million rubles.

It has long been said in the market that the principle of subsidizing itself needs to be adjusted. It would be necessary to compensate not only part of the cost of charters, but also blocks of seats on regular flights across Russia that tour operators take to transport tourists. Also, extend this practice to trains and buses. After all, it is not practical for tour operators to book a whole plane for tourists to some regions, as there is a risk that it simply won’t be full.

In October 2023 and February 2024, the editors sent requests to the press service of the Ministry of Economic Development with a request to clarify the prospects for the program for subsidizing charters and payments to tour operators, but there was no response.

Source: Tourdom

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