HomeTourismTravel agent under investigation sells tours to pay off debts

Travel agent under investigation sells tours to pay off debts

The founder of the travel agency “Insta Tour” from Belgorod, Alexander Khalaimov, who did not pay for New Year’s trips for almost two hundred of his clients, testifies to investigators and does not refuse debts. “I want to pay tourists: the deadline for refunds is August,” he explained to a TourDom.ru correspondent.

In order to cover his debts, he continues to work. Khalaimov resumed selling bus tours through VKontakte and Telegram: “I work as an online travel agent, tourists enter into an agreement directly with the tour operator. If I don’t get bullied on social networks, I hope sales will come.”

According to the travel agent, regarding refunds for canceled trips, he communicated with each of his clients separately, but most people are not ready to wait several months and demand money immediately. “There was harassment on social networks. For some reason, its initiators think that if the agency stops working, the money will be returned faster. But that’s not true. Just by agreeing on a return or rescheduling of the tour, giving the opportunity to work, this situation could be avoided.”

Regarding Alexander Khalaimov and other employees of Insta Tour aroused criminal case under the article “Fraud committed on an especially large scale.” 190 tourists were injured who paid for tours and were unable to use them. “These were mainly bus trips for the New Year holidays with an average bill of 21 thousand rubles,” explained Khalaimov to TourDom.ru (it turns out that in total the travel agency owes people approximately 3 million 990 thousand rubles – Editorial).

Alexander told his version of the events that prevented him from fulfilling his obligations. In August 2022, the commercial director handed over to him the affairs with an empty cash register and debts to tour operators. “I tried to close the 7 million box office gap, but it was very difficult. 2023 was a difficult year for tourism in Belgorod. After the shelling, people refused bus tours. Nevertheless, the box office gap was reduced by 2/3. I had to sell the car and get loans.”

At the beginning of December 2023, an initiative group of tourists, according to Khalaimov, began writing negative reviews to the travel agency on social networks, as well as statements to the police, RPN and the prosecutor’s office about delays in refunds of more than 10 days: “Social networks can kill any business and reputation for a few days”.

Then the problems grew like a snowball. Police officers and representatives of the RPN began to come to the office. Employees quit, and tour operators blocked personal accounts. We had to suspend the agency’s activities for six months. “I received threats from clients to me and even to my children. They promised to kill and maim, especially those who bought the tour for 6 thousand rubles.”

“I have always been an honest person, for 10 years I helped pensioners and orphanages. I had no intention of deceiving anyone, and, frankly speaking, the amount was not enough to ruin my life! – says Alexander Khalaimov. “Give me the opportunity to return to work so that I can make returns.”

Two injured tourists told TourDom that they have not yet received their money: “Alexander is not responding. We write to him, he ignores or forwards the same template text.”

Earlier, TourDom.ru wrote that there were more than 400 people in the Telegram chat of the victims. According to their stories, many regular clients of the travel agency paid for tours to the personal bank card of the founder or to the cards of his relatives: “According to the old scheme, as usual.”

Source: Tourdom

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