Thousands of Russian tourists are still stranded in Greece following the bankruptcy of Labirint, one of Russia’s leading tour operators.
In an announcement, the Greek Tourism Ministry and the Greek National Tourism Organization said they were working closely with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Russian tourism authorities and Greek tourism industry bodies on the matter.
“Greece is a safe and welcoming tourist destination that respects its guests,” the Tourism Ministry said in the announcement.
When the news of Labirint’s bankruptcy was first announced, around 8,000-10,000 customers of the Russian tour operator were said to be staying in hotels on Crete, Rhodes, Kos and Halkidiki.
According to a recent report by Greek tourism blog Tourism Lobby, travel fund Turpomosch has announced that two flights will leave Kos tomorrow with seats available for customers of Labirint. One flight will depart to Moscow (code 6584) tomorrow morning at 6am and the second for Perm (code 6592) at 4pm.
Labirint has posted information on its website (in Russian) to help customers secure transport home and seek financial reimbursement.
It has also been announced that Russian travelers in need can send an email with their contact details to email@example.com. All e-mails will be forwarded to Turpomosch for processing.
Reactions from Greek tourism professionals
Following the official announcement of the bankruptcy of Labirint, the Association of Greek Tourism Enterprises (SETE) had advised Greek hoteliers that were hosting customers of the Russian tour operator (that had already paid for their vacations), to continue to provide hospitality to them until a solution is found.
According to reports, a number of Greek hotels – such as Atrium Hotels and Mitsis Hotels – announced that they would continue to provide services to their Russian guests until the day of their departure without charging any extra fees.
Greek carrier Aegean Airlines announced that any customers of Labirint that were booked to travel on the airline would fly normally “without any impact whatsoever on them due to the bankruptcy of Labirint.”
In addition, Mouzenidis Travel, a Greek company that specializes in the Russian market, announced that the company would assist customers of Labirint to return to Russia.
Besides Greece, Russian tourists/customers of Labirint are stranded in many other destinations such as Egypt, Turkey, Spain, Bulgaria and Cyprus.
Hotels to be blacklisted
According to the Association of Tour Operators of Russia (ATOR), not all hoteliers are showing an understanding attitude to Labirint’s customers.
In an announcement on its website, ATOR said it received several complaints from Russian tourists (that had pre-booked their holidays via the now bankrupt Labirint) that some hotels had either evicted them once the news broke out or demanded for them to pay again. Other hotels were said to have turned away Russian guests right upon their arrival.
ATOR said that all complaints would be investigated and any hotels that were found to have “mishandled” the situation would be named on their website and “blacklisted.”