Travel firms in trouble as tourists cancel Russia visit after concert terror attack

By Tu Nguyen   March 26, 2024 | 09:17 pm PT
Travel firms in trouble as tourists cancel Russia visit after concert terror attack
People walk across Red Square near St. Basil's Cathedral and the Kremlin's Spasskaya Tower in central Moscow, Russia, Sept. 21, 2022. Photo by Reuters
Travel firms offering Russia tours are facing financial pressure since customers are balking at visiting the country and demanding refunds due to safety concerns following the recent terror attack.

Pham Duy Nghia, general director of Hanoi-based Vietfoot Travel, said his company is in hot water since many tours to Moscow, where an attack took place on a concert hall last week, could be canceled.

He said tours only resumed late last year after a hiatus due to the Russia-Ukraine war.

The company has booked tickets on Turkish Airlines and Qatar Airways for 10 groups of tourists who are scheduled to depart in late May for nine-day trips, he said.

They deposited VND10 million each, but many asked for the money back immediately after the attack, he said.

Nghia said his company is advising them to reschedule their tours to Turkey, Georgia or Dubai.

Even if they agree, his company would suffer losses due to higher airfares, he said.

While the losses have not yet been estimated, getting deposits back from airlines is also a "headache" for travel companies, he said.

It has paid VND70 million to Qatar Airways and VND50 million to Turkish Airlines for each group of 25 travelers.

Luu Thi Thu, deputy director of Hoang Viet Travel, said her company is negotiating with customers and telling them to switch to Turkey tours.

Tours to Russia have been suspended until October, she added.

In what was the deadliest attack in Russia for over two decades gunmen opened fire and set off explosives at the concert hall last Friday killing over 130 people.

The Islamic State has claimed responsibility.

Many countries have urged their citizens to limit traveling to Russia.

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