They want to classify the calculations of tour operators – Parliamentary newspaper

Only 148 Russian tour operators out of 4,500 have joined the e-ticket system. The process of connecting to the system, according to company representatives, is laborious and financially costly, plus it exposes all the ins and outs of entrepreneurs from tourism, which customers do not need to know. In September, companies that do not issue electronic vouchers will be fined, and the State Duma is preparing parliamentary hearings at which they plan to discuss the innovation.

We will be told why

In test mode, a unified information system for electronic vouchers was launched in September last year, and since March 2023 it has been officially operating and is available to companies and their customers. So far, however, the functionality is used by only 148 travel agencies out of 4.5 thousand operating in the market, a member of the State Duma Committee on Tourism told Parliamentary Newspaper Artem Prokofievwho leads the working group on the introduction of the electronic voucher mechanism.

At the end of last year, parliamentarians extended the transitional period for the entry into force of the law, according to which a serious fine will await the tour operator for the lack of information in the state system. “We try to take into account the interests of all market players as much as possible, but some of them, apparently, decided to behave like students before the session – to do everything at the last moment,” Prokofiev noted. — Operators received complaints about the difficulty of connecting to the system, so its developers are in constant contact with users, hold webinars. But there are still a lot of questions.” To solve them, the State Duma plans to hold parliamentary hearings on the introduction of electronic vouchers on March 6. At them, according to the deputy, tour operators will express their concerns, and the developers of the system will tell how it is convenient for travelers.

One thing is certain: there will no longer be a delay in the introduction of fines for not connecting to the e-ticket system – the amendments will come into force on September 1, 2023. If the company does not post information in the state system, it may even be excluded from the register of tour operators.

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How much does a ticket cost

Representatives of tour operators have also created their own working group – two leading professional associations: the Association of Tour Operators of Russia (ATOR) and the Russian Union of Travel Industry (PCT). The first meeting took place on February 9 and was a kick-off. “We form questions to the developers and our concerns,” the head of ATOR told Parliamentary Newspaper Maya Lomidze. – So far we see that it is not easy to connect to the system. This takes a lot of time and effort, and the tour operators who worked in the system in test mode had to attract additional technical staff. Moreover, this should be a constant rate, because when administrative responsibility comes into force, control over the placement of information in the system should be constant, because no one wants to pay fines.

Maya Lomidze
© Timur Khanov/PG

It is not difficult to assume that the costs of maintaining a new employee, and perhaps more than one, and possible fines, travel agencies will want to shift to their customers. In other words, tickets can go up in price. Whether this is the case, we will find out very soon.

It is believed that the electronic voucher is needed first of all by its owner himself – supposedly in this way he will be more protected from the arbitrariness of the tour operator. And he will be able to check the status of his tour on the website at any time and find out how much, for what and to whom of his money the travel agency transferred, and how much he left for himself for work. The latter is of particular concern to tour operators, who believe that it is not so necessary to paint everything in detail. “There is a well-established practice of interaction between market participants – tour operators and agencies, including financial relationships. Most of the data is classified as a commercial secret,” said Maya Lomidze.

Well, little things. How will the personal data of travel agency clients that will be uploaded to the Internet be protected? This question worries industry professionals, deputies, and certainly the travelers themselves. Still, the data on the ticket, its direction, included services, their cost is very sensitive information. This question will also be asked to the competent departments at parliamentary hearings in March.

What the QR code will tell

An electronic voucher does not cancel the obligation to issue traditional travel documents. Vouchers, tickets, bookings, insurance – everything will be saved. Only on the contract, the travel agency will have to place a QR code, by reading which it will be possible to obtain information. Its list is also approved: this is a unique number and date of formation of the electronic voucher, the price of the tour, the number of travelers, information about the customer of the tourist product, a link to the page of the unified information system of electronic vouchers.

The site of the electronic voucher system works on the government platform gov.ru, however, there is not much information on it yet. The main page welcomes us with two stands, a productive one and a demonstration one. Which one to choose – God knows. Each has a “Tourist Login” link that leads to an authorization page. There you need to enter the ticket number and a certain authorization code. Where to get the latter is also not clear.

Tour operators also pointed out the imperfection of the system. Members of the ATOR and RST working group drew attention to problems when entering data on a specific profile or tourism product. Most of the questions concerned complex, combined tours and some types of tourism – children’s, active, cruise. We still have six months to sort things out.

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