Thousands of Russian tourists stranded abroad as tour operator Labirint fails
At least 27,000 Russian tourists are stranded abroad after tour operator Labirint suspended its activity.
A company statement blamed the move on the deterioration in the rouble exchange rate and the “negative political and economic situation”.
There are signs that EU-US sanctions on Russia over the Ukraine crisis are hurting the wider economy, including Western investment in Russia.
A Russian tycoon says his executive jet is grounded because of US sanctions.
Billionaire businessman Gennady Timchenko – close to President Vladimir Putin – told Russia’s ITAR-TASS news agency that Gulfstream was no longer servicing his jet and the pilots were not allowed to use its navigation equipment.
He is reckoned to have a fortune of $14.4 billion, owning big stakes in gas and infrastructure firms. He is among dozens of Russians hit by sanctions over the Ukraine conflict.
An agency assisting Russian tourists, Turpomoshch (Tour Help), said in a statement it is now trying to book Russians onto return flights in various countries, including Bulgaria, Egypt and Tunisia.
Labirint’s sudden failure on Saturday left some 27,000 Russian tourists without return tickets, Turpomoshch said.
Anxious Labirint customers are bombarding Turpomoshch with calls at a rate of five per minute, the agency says, adding that “our managers are working flat-out” to help them.
Another reason Labirint gave for its move was the Russian state’s advice that military or security service officials should not go abroad.
Last month another Russian tour operator, Neva, also went bust.