The new federal law which regulates the workings of the travel industry in Russia will come into effect January 1, 2017. It is intended to improve legal protection of Russian tourists and strengthen the liability of tour operators. The new law keeps the requirement concerning financial security of a tour operator in the form of a third party liability insurance contract. Major innovation is the personal liability fund of tour operators, which is created in order to compensate damages to tourists who lost money due to the tourist companies leaving the market. The fund is made with annual contributions by tour operators. The size of such contributions varies from 1% to 7% of the total price of tourist products sold in the previous year. The new law provides for possibility to change contributions to the reserve fund of tour operators which deal with outbound tourism. Contributions to the reserve fund depend on the number of tourists transferred by an operator*.
In addition to that, the new law strengthens control over agents who sell tourist products directly to the consumers. It establishes that tour agents must inform tour operators about the agreements concluded with tourists, agree upon travel conditions in accordance with the consumer’s request and transfer the buyer’s money to a tour operator. At that, both the tour operator and tour agent will be responsible to the tourist for the failure to fulfil contractual obligations. Moreover, the tourist is entitled to ask for a copy of the certificate which confirms that information about a tour operator has been entered to a special register. Other significant innovations touch upon the requirements established to persons who work as directors, deputy directors and chief accountants of tour operators. For example, they should not have criminal history or outstanding convictions for the intended crimes.
* Those who have no more than 10 thousand tourists will pay 50 000 RUB (which is 670 Euro on the current exchange rate), those with no more than 100 thousand tourists – 100 000 RUB (1350 Euro), those with 100-500 thousand tourists – 300 000 RUB (4000 Euro). In case the number of tourists exceeds 500 thousand, the contribution will make 500 000 RUB (6700 Euro).