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Saturday, 05 February 2011 21:22

Many Russian Tourists Remain in Egypt – Federal Agency

MOSCOW, February 4, 2011 (Itar-Tass) -- About 28,000 Russian tourists are staying in Egypt, Federal Tourism Agency spokesman Oleg Moseyev told Itar-Tass.

 

“According to the Federal Air Transport Service, about 3,000-3,500 tourists returned home today. This means that about 28,000 tourists are staying in Egypt. There were about 32,000 tourists on vacation in Egypt on February 3,” he said.

 

“Not a single tourist went to Egypt today,” Moseyev said. “Main flights are planned for Saturday and Sunday. We think that no more than 20,000 Russian tourists will remain at Egyptian resorts by February 6, and all of them will return home by the end of next week.”

 

The five leading tourist companies of Russia, which sell 90% of all Egypt tourists in the country, have decided to evacuate their tourists from Egypt before February 9, Executive Director of the Association of Russian Tour Operators Maya Lomidze told Itar-Tass.

 

“The companies that continue to sell Egypt tourist are warned that they have face administrative and even criminal responsibility if a tourist gets hurt. The number of such unscrupulous tour operators is meager,” she said.

 

“The majority of tour operators suspended the selling of Egypt tours until normalization although resort towns are relatively calm,” Moseyev said. “Many tour operators based in Egypt strongly recommend tourists to take vacant seats on planes home. Refunds for the missed vacation services will be paid.”

 

More than 8,000 Russians have been taken home from Egypt since the beginning of February, Federal Air Transport Service spokesman Sergei Izvolsky told Itar-Tass.


The Emergency Situations Ministry has plans of the evacuation of Russian citizens from Egypt if necessary, deputy head of the ministry’s international affairs department Valery Shuikov told Itar-Tass.

 

“The Emergency Situations Ministry and other federal executive agencies have such plans in the case the national government makes the evacuation decision. We are prepared, but the evacuation has not been announced,” he said.

Hundreds of Russian tourists daily come to Egypt, and hundreds return home. “We think this is the question of the responsibility of Russian tourists who go on vacation to a turbulent country and Russian tourist companies selling the tours. Such services may be of inferior quality,” he remarked.

 

The Federal Air Transport Agency affirmed a considerable drop in the demand for flights to Egypt. Russian tourists have taken notice of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s travel alert, the agency said.

The Sports, Tourism and Youth Policy Ministry and the Federal Tourism Agency urged tourist companies on January 30 to suspend the sending of Russian tourists to Egypt.

The Law on the Protection of Consumer Rights says that services, which harm or may harm the life, health or property of the consumer must be suspended or canceled, said the appeal posted on the agency website.

In the opinion of the ministry and the agency, tours to Egypt amid security threats “grossly violate Russian laws and may result in legal liabilities of their providers.”

“Under the current circumstances, Russian tourists have an indisputable right to demand invalidation of the tour agreement or change its terms because of the significant change in the circumstances from what they were at the moment of the signing. In particular, that can be done at court. If the agreement is repealed before the tour, the refund will be full. If that is done upon the beginning of the journey, the refund must amount to the cost of services the tourist has not received,” the statement said.

 The ministry and the agency called on the tourists “to be very careful and sensible when they consider a possible trip to Egypt under conditions dangerous for their life, health and property.”

They also recommended regional tourism authorities to convey full information about tourist rights to tourists and tourism companies. The Federal Tourism Agency officially suspended tourist trips to Egypt on Saturday. The agency said that the tourists had the right to full refunds from tourism companies.

 

“Evacuation is not on the current agenda, but the Federal Tourism Agency is preparing an evacuation plan in the case the situation exacerbates at the Egyptian resort towns and our tourists are endangered,” Moseyev said.

“Despite the recommendation to abstain from trips to Egypt, Russian tourists keep going there. Only a few decide to stay home, and the majority starts their trips anyway. They are fully responsible for that decision,” he said.

“Tourism companies have been recommended not to sell Egyptian tours and to ensure security of tourists already staying in Egypt. In addition, they are recommended to help Russian tourists wishing to return home ahead of time and to provide them with information about possible refunds,” Moseyev said. Tourists are recommended to stay within the premises of their hotels, he added.

 

On Saturday, the agency opened a special telephone line for offering detailed information about the situation in Egypt and the condition of Russian tourists staying at Egyptian resorts.

The agency also formed an operations staff involving representatives of the Sport, Tourism and Youth Policy Ministry, the Federal Air Transport Agency, tourist companies and airlines in fulfillment of the recommendations given by the Russian Foreign Ministry. (END/2011)

 

 

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