Russia could blacklist Bulgarian hotels that asked Russian tourists to pay for their stay a second time, Russia’s top industry official said.
Earlier this summer, when Bulgarian operator Bulgarian VIP Tours filed for insolvency, four hotels in Bulgarian resorts asked the operator’s customers to pay for their rooms a second time (having already bought holiday packages from the bankrupt tour operator once) or vacate the premises.
“Bankruptcies happen and will continue to happen. It’s a business and we cannot prevent them […] Unfortunately, in a number of cases foreign hotels have acted unfairly and we have cases of blackmail in Bulgaria. Tourists were asked to pay a second time and were pressured psychologically with threats of being blacklisted,” the head of Russia’s federal tourism agency Alexander Radkov told website gazeta.ru in an interview published on October 1.
“We always came down hard in such cases and will continue doing so in the future – the tourists should not be involved in the disputes of such business entities. We already have the experience of creating a blacklist of hotels where the rights of Russian tourists are breached. We will continue this practice and will recommend that travel agencies avoid doing business with these hotels,” Radkov said.
Russia is one of Bulgaria’s biggest tourism markets, as well as the fastest growing one. Half of the 1000 holidaymakers affected by the Bulgarian VIP Tours bankruptcy were Russian.
This time, Bulgarian authorities moved swiftly to solve any issues, mindful to avoid a repeat of the Alma Tour debacle last year. Alma Tour, one of Bulgaria’s largest travel agencies, filed for bankruptcy in September 2011, leaving hundreds of tourists – many of them from Russia, but from other European countries too – stranded in Bulgaria when the country’s flag carrier refused to accept their tickets because of Alma Tour’s large debts.
(Alexander Radkov, head of the Russia’s federal tourism agency, screengrab from russiatourismtv.ru)