UPDATE 2: Culture Ministry says no threat for Booking.comТs life in Russia
(Adds comment in paragraph 7)
MOSCOW, May 23 (PRIME) -- RussiaТs Culture Ministry is against a nationwide blocking of Booking.com, a travel fare aggregator website and travel metasearch engine, and the corresponding request submitted earlier to the tourism agency is of a technical nature, the ministry said on Wednesday, citing the tourism departmentТs head Olga Yarilova.
УRussiaТs Culture Ministry has no powers to ban the use of service Booking.com as well as plans on any regulation of its activities on the territory of the Russian Federation. Moreover, the ministry is adamantly against such posing of the question,Ф Yarilova said.
The ministry received a request from head of a group of travel companies, Mr. S.Voitovich, with a suggestion to restrict access to this service in the country.
Under the law, the ministry addressed the mentioned request to the Federal Tourism Agency in order the authority to prepare a response. УItТs an absolutely standard procedure, which is of a technical nature,Ф Yarilova said.
Nothing threatens the work of Booking.com in Russia, she said.
The tourism agency said earlier it had received the request from the Culture Ministry to consider the idea of blocking activities of Booking.com and the position should be unveiled by June 4.
The Federal Tourism Agency said on its website that it Уdoes not welcome the suggestion to limit activities of this service on the territory of Russia because it is popular among Russian citizens who actively use its options to organize independent trips across the country and abroad.Ф
Vice President of the Russian Union of Travel Industry Olga Sanayeva said that Booking.com will be hardly blocked in the country, but it should function in the single legal field as local operators do.
УIТd certainly like Booking.com to work in the same field as tour operators, at least in the legal field. As head of the regional council of the union, I know that business has questions to Booking.com,Ф she said.
Dutch firm Booking.com belongs to U.S. company Priceline Group.