Troubled Tour Operator Leaves Bulgarian Tourists Stuck Abroad

Tourism | September 21, 2011, Wednesday // 14:43|  views

An emergency briefing was held Tuesday to solve the problems created by debt-ridden tour operator Alma Tour. Photo by BGNES

A total of 183 Bulgarian customers of Alma Tour, currently on holiday in Turkey's Antalya and on the Greek island of Crete, will be flown home Saturday on planes of Bulgaria Air, although the tour operator has not paid for the service.

Tourists scheduled to depart on trips to Santorini, Dubrovnik, Barcelona, Antalya and Crete on September 22nd and 24th, however, will not go.

They can claim their money back from the tour operator and address insurance company Armeetz in the case of a refusal.

The announcement was made at a Tuesday extraordinary briefing attended by Deputy Transport Minister Ivo Marinov, Bulgaria Air CEO Yanko Georgiev and Alexander Maslarski, temporary head of the Commission on Protection of Competition (KZP), as well as representatives of the Armeetz insurance company and tourism and travel associations.

"At an extraordinary meeting of KZP scheduled for Tuesday evening I will issue a ban preventing Alma Tour from offering tourist products until it emerges from its financial difficulties", Maslarski stated.

Earlier Tuesday, it was reported that Alma Tour had filed for bankruptcy.

Hristo Gylbachev, CEO of Astral Holidays, commented that a huge number of tourism companies had been hit by the scandal with Alma Tour.

In his words, a new crisis threatened to flare up on September 10th and 17th with groups of Bulgarian tourists on holiday abroad.

National air carrier Bulgaria Air, however, executed the return flights, for which Alma Tour had also failed to pay.

Problems with Alma Tour surfaced on September 09, when close to 1,000 international tourists, most of them Russians, were stranded at Bulgarian Black Sea airports of Burgas and Varna.

Their flights were canceled by carrier Bulgaria Air due to an alleged EUR 3.6 M debt of the tour operator.

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Tags: Alma Tour, Bulgaria Air, tourists, tour operator, Deputy Transport Minister, Ivo Marinov, Commission on Protection of Competition, Alexander Maslarski, Yanko Georgiev, Armeetz


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