By George Psyllides
SOME 160 Russian tourists have been left stranded in two Protaras hotels after a tour operator went bust on Saturday, raising concerns that more could follow.
Russian tour operator Labirint notified the two hotels that it had gone bankrupt and the tourists it represented must now pay for their stay and the return flights themselves.
Seven are staying in one hotel and 150 in another.
Labirint also asked the hotels to provide the tourists with the necessary paperwork so they could be compensated by the insurance company.
The tourists have asked the Russian embassy to step in and negotiate with the hotels.
Labirint mainly operates in Greece though it does bring between 10,000 to 15,000 Russian tourists to Cyprus on a yearly basis, Victor Mantovanis, the head of the island’s tour operators (ACTA), said.
Labirint’s bankruptcy followed that of Neva two weeks ago, raising concerns that more tour operators could follow. Neva brought 3,000 of around 600,000 Russian tourists who visit Cyprus each year.
“These are the two first incidents and there may be more,” Mantovanis said. “The shock is small but we need to get the message that the market is not healthy at this moment.”
Mantovanis said there is an oversupply of tourist packages and all organisers complain they were losing money.
“Some will make it some will not. Those who make it through will ask hotels for discounts,” he said.
The Russian market has expanded suddenly in the past three to four years, creating a sort of bubble, Mantovanis said.
“Because of the oversupply of packages, organisers are forced to cut their prices continuously resulting in some being unable to cope.”