The Federal Agency for Tourism of the Russian Federation has published a regulation that regulates the procedure for transferring the obligations of tour operators for tours that did not take place due to the coronavirus pandemic and related restrictive measures. A similar document has been prepared for accommodation facilities. The draft document is posted on the portal of legal information and until July 4 is in the stage of public discussion.
The Regulation establishes the specifics of the execution, amendment and termination of the contract for the sale of a tourist product, concluded before March 31, 2020 by a tour operator or travel agent. In addition, it also applies to tours to countries, trips to which were limited due to the threat to the safety of tourists (Article 4): Italy, China, South Korea and Iran. According to the project, the tour operator is obliged to provide an equivalent tourist product within a time period determined additionally by agreement of the parties - no later than December 31, 2021.
An equivalent tourist product means a tour, the consumer properties of which (program of stay, route and travel conditions, living conditions (location of the accommodation facility, hotel category) and meals, services for transporting a tourist at the place of temporary stay, as well as additional services) correspond to what was provided for in the contract. In this case, consumer properties can be changed by agreement of the parties. It is important that the tour operator does not have the right to demand an additional payment for the tour if the tourist has already paid 100% of the tour cost.
Within 60 days after the publication of the decree, the tour operator must send the customer and (or) the travel agent a notification containing the obligation to provide an equivalent tour product no later than December 31, 2021. If the notification is sent to the travel agent, the latter is obliged to bring it to the tourist within one day. If such a notification is not sent within the prescribed period, then the tour operator must reimburse the tourist for the full cost of the tour by December 31, 2020. In this case, the tour operator is obliged to provide financial support for the entire duration of the obligation.
If the tourist does not agree to use the proposed options and insists on terminating the contract, the tour operator is obliged to return the full cost of the tourist product no later than December 31, 2021.
However, if a tourist finds himself in a difficult life situation (temporary disability, disability, registration as unemployed), then the travel service provider must return the money to him within 90 days from the date of application, but no later than December 31 2021 year.
In this case, when refunding funds - in any case - the tour operator is obliged to pay the tourist or other customer of the tourist product a percentage for use in the amount of 1/365 of the key rate of the Central Bank of the Russian Federation at the time of publication of the regulation for each calendar day of use. Interest is calculated from the day the customer submits the corresponding request until the day the customer returns the amount paid for the tourist product.
According to the head of KS Group Evgeny Vasiliev, the good news is that the document itself is very different from the original versions in the best for business (travel and insurance) side, it is quite working - Rosturizm removed from it all the controversial points that were earlier. In addition, publication means that active work is underway on the documents and, ultimately, they will be adopted by the Government of the Russian Federation.
“The downside is that these documents are not urgent. And the mark "Regulatory Impact Assessment" in the project passport means that the documents will be posted on the portal for at least 20 working days, plus about 10-15 working days will be required for further work on signing the documents - respectively, before the end of July or even the beginning of August, hope the release of these documents is not necessary. Aviation decisions on postponements will be adopted in a similar timeframe, ”the expert explained.
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