The coronavirus restrictions imposed by the Kuban authorities have forced many tourists to abandon their August trips to Sochi and Anapa. Will they get a refund already spent on their booking? …
At the end of June, the Governor of the Krasnodar Territory, Veniamin Kondratyev, signed a decree No. 369, which shocked Kuban hoteliers and hundreds of thousands of ordinary tourists. In accordance with it, from August 1, check-in at local accommodation facilities is allowed only with a vaccination certificate. Almost immediately, the ninth wave of refusals from booking tours to the Black Sea resorts poured into travel agencies.
More than a million Russians faced the problem of refunding money
According to experts from the Association of Tour Operators of Russia (ATOR), no less than 2.5 million tours to the Krasnodar Territory were prepaid for August. We are talking not only about vouchers realized by travel agencies, but also trips organized independently. Those who book hotels individually in the tourist industry are usually called “self-tourists”. In addition to renting rooms, they have to take care of the transfer on their own, which sometimes allows them to save money.
ATOR experts believe that from 50 to 80% of tourists who do not want or do not have time to get vaccinated will refuse from their August trips to the Krasnodar Territory. Thus, 1.5-2 million Russians will face the problem of returning the money already transferred. Unfortunately, not all of them will be able to quickly return funds in order to redirect them to rest in the Crimea or Turkey. At the same time, organized travelers found themselves in a much better situation than self-tourists.
Tour operators “get into position” and offer options
The tourist business has not yet developed a unified policy in relation to “anti-vaccination”. Nevertheless, the bulk of the companies are loyal to the clients-refuseniks. For example, one of the largest tour operators in the Russian Federation, Biblio-Globus, imposes a symbolic fine of 500 rubles for canceling a tour to the Krasnodar Territory. True, this rule applies only if before arrival – no more than 22 days. The money for the voucher is promised to be returned within 60 days.
Some tour operators (for example, Intourist, ALEAN, etc.) practice an individual approach. The costs of travel cancellations to their clients depend on the terms of the particular contract. As a rule, travelers are charged with deductions from travel partners. Here you can come across a kind of lottery. For example, the host hotel may impose a standard cancellation penalty (the cost of staying for the first day). But there are times when hoteliers who have sensed a profit, impose fines close to 100% of the cost of the entire rental.
Certain travel agencies, in particular “TUI Russia”, offer to re-credit funds already paid for the purchase of another voucher. For example, having paid a certain amount, you can go on vacation instead of the Krasnodar Territory to Turkey or Crimea. Unfortunately, such transfers usually take time. Accordingly, tourists have to adjust the timing of their vacations, which causes considerable problems. Nevertheless, it’s better this way than completely losing the money spent on “Krasnodar” vouchers. For some, just such a prospect shines.
Many self-tourists will have to go to court for money
Most travel companies do not live one day and are vitally interested in retaining their client base. Therefore, the payment for unused vouchers will be compensated one way or another, according to market professionals. Subsequently, travel agencies will take their toll from especially greedy hotels and carriers through the courts, since they have the opportunity to maintain strong legal departments.
But many self-tourists found themselves in a very unenviable position. It is not uncommon for hoteliers to refuse to return 100% of the funds and to get at least something is possible only through legal proceedings. There will be many thousands of such processes, but it is not yet clear which side “in general” the Russian Themis will take. According to the law, the issue of refunding money for unused services can be interpreted in both directions. For example, only “significant changes in circumstances” that led to the cancellation of the tour are considered valid reasons for canceling a booking (with a refund).
Unwillingness to be vaccinated is not included in the number of “good reasons” for canceling the tour. But if it turns out to prove that the person simply did not have time to undergo double immunization before the trip to Sochi, the court’s decision should seem to be in favor of the tourist. Why like? Because if the state machine aggressively rebelles against anti-vaccine users, then the outcome of such trials will, to put it mildly, not be obvious.
In any case, the court promises to become the main method of collecting funds from disloyal airlines and hotels for self-tourists. However, not everyone will find time to participate in legal proceedings. And given the non-obviousness of the verdict, not everyone will risk spending money on lawyers and paperwork. Thus, the majority of self-tourists can only rely on the human attitude from carriers and hotels, to which they transferred a prepayment. And, of course, learn from negative experiences.
Restrictions in the regions of Russia
How two PCR tests will affect the demand for overseas tours
Should I take a PCR test at home before my trip?