Bulgarian tour operator Alfatour, described as one of the largest in the country, has filed for insolvency on December 13, sparking a row with its insurance company.
Alfatour blamed the Arab Spring revolutions in Egypt and Tunisia, as well as bomb attacks in Turkey, for the loss of its “main destinations that account for 80 per cent of our business”, while competition from low-cost airlines led to the decline in sales for European destinationes and United Arab Emirates.
“In recent days, we realised that we are objectively unable to guarantee payments during the winter holidays, which could lead to crisis situations during the festive season, such as people stuck in airports and unable to book into hotels,” the tour operator said in a statement posted on its website.
Bulgaria’s Tourism Ministry said that no Bulgarian tourists currently abroad were at risk and that it was ready to assist if required.
Alfatour said that its customers had that purchased tourist packages could get their money back by filing a claim with insurer Euroins. Alfatour’s insurance contract with Euroins covers cumulative damages for up to 1.4 million leva.
Euroins said that it would cover all claims filed by Alfatour customers up to that amount, but also claimed that it had not been notified by Alfatour of its intention to file for insolvency, according to reports in Bulgarian-language media.
The insurance company said that it was “surprised” by the tour operator’s filing and intended to notify law enforcement agencies about “the intentional bankruptcy of tourist company Alfatour”./IBNA