The Russians have come around with a somewhat better deal for American tourists wanting to attend the 1980 Olympics in Moscow.
A few weeks ago, an American committing himself to such a tour had to sign a paper recognizing in precise terms that he was guranteed neither a total tour price, nor specific hotels, nor a specific airline to get there nor any particular number or type of Olympics tickets.
Not only that, but if the tourist had to cancel out, there were no specific guarantees of refunds of the $1,550 in deposits required by Sept. 15, 1979.
But new, according to an announcement by the authorized American travel agent for the Moscow games, some of this has been altered to the tourists' advantage. The new conditions were established in talks Feb. 3 with Intourist, the Soviet travel organization.
The new contract agreed upon sys that by Dec. 31 of this year a specific classs of accommodation, a schedule for air transportstion and the number and type of Olympic tickets available for the tourist's purchase will be gurarnteed.
This still includes no precise hotel or airline.
But if a person who has puchased the tour does not like the sound of the package, he will have a month, until Feb. 1, 1980, to cancel out. Upon cancellation, he would receive back all but $195 of his deposit.
This arrangement also takes care of those who may be dissatisfied with the total tour price. The balance after the $1,550 deposits, are paid will be payable Jan. 15, 1980, so a person not desiring to pay will be able to back out on the same terms.
But the total tour price is not expected to be too rude a shock. Current estimates by the travel agent are that it will not exceed $1,900, so the final payment should not exceed $350.
E. Wallance Lawrence, president of the Russian Travel Bureau, the New York firm that is the U.S. marketer of tours to the 1980 games, said the new contracts will apply not only to persons signing up for the tours from now on, but also to those who signed up under the less advantageous original contract.
In addition, he said in a news conference here, his firm has obtained cancellation insurance at an extra charge of $49 a person. Those having to cancel out for reasons of death, injury or illness after the Feb. 1 deadline will be fully covered, and the policy also will contain benefits for any less of life, medical expenses, personal liability and baggage losses while in the Soviet Union or en route.