Holidaymakers Take Legal Battle To Court

Tourists Seek Compensation Following Ruined Maldives Holidays

29.10.2010


A group of British holidaymakers have taken their legal battle to court after their holidays in the Maldives were ruined by gastric illness, including one case of salmonella food poisoning.

The group of nine all travelled to the Huduranfushi Island Resort in 2008 with tour operator Thomson (part of the TUI UK Ltd travel group).

While at the resort the tourists suffered gastric illnesses but the tour operator has so far denied responsibility, leaving the group with no option but to issue legal proceedings.

The holidaymakers are being represented in their travel claim by specialist lawyers from Irwin Mitchell.

Suki Chhokar, a partner at the law firm said: “The people involved in this group action suffered greatly as a result of the conditions at the Huduranfushi Island Resort, and one was so seriously ill he had to be rushed to hospital on a nearby island.

“We have attempted to settle this amicably, urging Thomson to fully appreciate the long term symptoms suffered by several of our clients and the impact it has had on their lives. But, as we have been unable to reach a satisfactory outcome we have been left with no choice than to take matters further. Our clients want not only an apology and fair compensation, but assurances that lessons have been learnt so that no one else is subjected to the conditions they were, and put at potential risk.”

Among the victims are Kenneth Wears and his wife Lesley. The couple from Merseyside describe their stay at the Huduranfushi as “the worst experience of their lives”. Mrs Wears was so ill that a doctor had to be flown in from another resort to treat her. He immediately put her on an IV drip.

Mrs Wears said: “Health and safety at the Huduranfushi was a joke, we were served undercooked food, as well as food that was recycled and served up two days running, and the pool and toilets were filthy.”

She adds; “We were so excited about the holiday, which was supposed to be an early celebration of my husband’s 50th birthday.  But instead of enjoying it, I spent most of our time on the island being violently ill.  Not only was the trip ruined, but Ken’s 50th birthday do had to be cancelled when we got back home because I was still so ill.  I went to see my GP and I was told that I had contracted salmonella food poisoning.

“This holiday, if you can call it that, qualifies as the worst experience of our lives.  Unfortunately I have not been able to get away from it as I am still suffering symptoms today.”

Jonathan Collier also stayed at the Huduranfushi. He became so ill that he fainted. He said: “I started spotting the same reheated food during the different dining sessions, there were flies on food, power cuts were the norm and there was often no water supply for hours which was especially horrible when I was being violently sick.”

Jonathan became so ill during his stay at the Huduranfushi Island Resort that when he went to see the resort doctor, he was told to go to the nearest hospital, which was on another island.  He added: “My girlfriend and I wanted to do lots of special, memorable things on holiday, like go in the glass bottom submarine but we were not able to do any of the excursions we had planned, because we spent most of our money getting a speedboat back from the hospital and as I just wasn’t well enough.”

Suki Chhokar said: “The stories from our clients returning from holidays at this hotel are horrendous and show that there was clearly a serious issue at Huduranfushi Island Resort, and it is understandable that our clients want an explanation.

“Irwin Mitchell also represents clients who suffered similar experiences during their stays at the Huduranfushi Island Resort in 2007.  The problems at this hotel are completely unacceptable.  Tour operators have a responsibility to ensure that the hotels they send their customers to are of a reasonable standard, and that they comply with health and safety regulations, which are in place to protect their guests.

“It is deeply frustrating to see that tour operators, Thomson in this case – who are well aware of the risks to long-term health that outbreaks of illness like this present – appear to have failed to take sufficient action to improve standards to safeguard the health of the holidaymakers who put their trust in them. Thomson should face up to its responsibilities and pay our clients fair compensation for their ruined holidays and illnesses.”