25 Holidaymakers Receive £100,000 Plus Illness Settlement

Travel Law Experts Urge Action From Tour Operators

29.12.2011



Twenty five holidaymakers struck down by serious sickness at a Tunisian hotel four years ago have recovered more than £100,000 in compensation.

Specialists at Irwin Mitchell, who assisted the group of holidaymakers, have urged quick action from tour operators after being contacted in recent weeks by furious guests who say the hotel’s problems have returned.

Travel law experts at Irwin Mitchell successfully concluded legal action on behalf of the 25 people who fell ill in 2007 at the Houda Golf and Beach Club. One woman admitted her disbelief that the hotel had suffered another outbreak after she contracted Campylobacter and still suffers health problems four years on from her ill-fated stay.

Eight displeased Thomas Cook customers have already contacted Irwin Mitchell. Their holidays at the three-star hotel in Monastir in September were ruined by sickness, with one having  been diagnosed with Salmonella and still suffering from symptoms now.

Following comments on internet review sites urging guests to ‘stay away’ and speaking of ‘nightmare’ holidays in which entire groups of guests hit by illness were ‘glad to get home’.

Amandeep Dhillon, travel law specialist, has demanded immediate action from tour operators before more guests have their holidays ruined.

Dhillon said: “We have only just concluded one case on behalf of a group of holidaymakers who had their much-needed breaks absolutely wrecked by sicknesses which some of them still experience from today. We also successfully secured settlements for a group of holidaymakers who stayed at this hotel in 2008 after First Choice admitted liability. To find out that the same hotel is having the same problems again is just beyond belief.

“Having so many people fall ill four years ago would have been enough to make the tour operator and hotel management solve the problems once and for all. They have not sufficiently learnt from what went wrong then and now we see more holidaymakers suffering.

“One guest was struck down with Salmonella, this is a serious issue and Thomas Cook need to take action now before anyone else suffers a similar experience.”

He added: “It is just not adequate for our clients. In the current economic climate, people have to save harder to be able to afford a holiday at all. The very least they deserve is a holiday which they can enjoy, not one which is ruined by sickness which stays with them long after the holiday is over.”

52-year-old Jennifer Walker, from Chesterfield, echoed Dhillon’s comments, whose all-inclusive holiday in 2007 at the hotel ended with her being diagnosed with Campylobacter, while her husband and two teenage children were also hit by sickness. They were part of a 25-strong group whose case against First Choice was settled just weeks ago by Irwin Mitchell, securing £112,000 to the group in compensation.

Mrs Walker said she was stunned to hear that the same hotel was again suffering an outbreak of sickness and said: “What on earth is going on there? Haven’t they learnt anything?

“It’s absolutely appalling that something like this is happening again so soon after it happened to us. Enough is enough and the tour operators have to do something about this.”

Recalling her family’s disastrous stay at the Houda Golf and Beach Club, she said: “The resort advertised in the brochures didn’t give an exact picture of what it was really like. We didn’t really get a chance to look around in Tunisia as we all fell ill. We came back exhausted, stressed and disheartened instead of feeling refreshed as we normally do when we go on holiday.

“After having saved up for a long time we booked the holiday. It was the first time we had booked an all inclusive holiday, and probably the last given the experience we had. We chose, what we thought was a respectable company with a good reputation and we were expecting good value for money.

“What we got was a round of sickness which continues to cause myself and my husband problems to this day and ruined our children’s holidays. We wish we’d never seen or heard of the Houda Golf and Beach Club, and I bet there’s lots more people now thinking the same thing.”

Irwin Mitchell have been contacted by furious guests who stayed at the Houda in September 2011, and have all complained they fell ill and attacked the standards of food at the hotel.

And reviews on the internet site Trip Advisor continuing into October include one urging guests to ‘stay away’, while a second guest described their stay as a ‘nightmare’ in which all six members of their party fell ill.