Victims of Bankrupt Bulgarian Tour Operator Invited to File Refund Claims

Tourism | September 21, 2011, Wednesday // 16:08|  views

The Alma Tour scandal left close to 1,000 international tourists, most of them Russians, stranded at Bulgarian Black Sea airports. Photo by BGNES

Insurance company Armeetz has said that it is ready to accept refund claims from customers of Bulgarian tour operator Alma Tour which went out of business for an indefinite period Tuesday.

Problems with Alma Tour surfaced on 09 September, 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 Bulgaria Air over what it claimed to be EUR 3.6 M debts from Alma Tour, which had booked the tourists' trips.

Alma Tour was reported to have filed for bankruptcy Tuesday.

Armeetz has reminded that Alma Tour's activity is insured for the sum of BGN 200 000.

Refund claims can be filed on the website of the insurance company and at its headquarters on 2 Stefan Karadzha Str, Sofia.

The total number of people whose trips have been cancelled is yet unclear, but unconfirmed reports put the figure at 2500.

If the sum of BGN 200 000 is not enough to cover all refund claims, the rest of the scammed tourists will have to seek their money from Alma Tour in court.

Insurance company Armeetz is majority-owned by Bulgarian industrial conglomerate Chimimport, whose portfolio includes companies like national air carrier Bulgaria Air and Corporate Commercial Bank (CCB).

In a Wednesday media statement, Chimimport refuted allegations that it intended to take over debt-ridden Alma Tour, insisting that it had shown patience to the systemic "financial irregularity" of the tour operator in its relations with CCB and Armeetz.

Chimimport is a major player in Bulgaria engaged in a multitude of business activities, including finance, acquisition and production and concentrated in finance and insurance, extraction of oil and gas and production and trading with petroleum products, processing and trading in grain and oils, chemicals and fertilizers trade, as well as air, river and maritime transportation.

Chimimport's eponymous predecessor was created as early as 1947 to facilitate Bulgaria's burgeoning chemical industry. It was transformed into a joint-stock company in 1990 and was registered as a holding company in 1997.

Chimimport is popularly known among Bulgarians as connected with the famous TIM group operating in northeast Bulgaria, especially second-biggest city Varna.

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Tags: Armeetz, tour operator, Alma Tour, Chimimport, Corporate Commercial Bank, indebted


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