Holiday Village Turkey Illness
Leading travel law experts have renewed calls for a UK tour operator to stop sending tourists to a sickness-prone hotel in Turkey after a court agreed a five-figure settlement for 14 British holidaymakers hit by serious food poisoning in 2005.
The tourists, including seven children, all stayed at the Holiday Village Turkey – formerly two hotels called the Pegasus Palace and the Pegasus Tropical – in 2005 and contracted illnesses including salmonella and cryptosporidium.
They are among more than 1,300 guests represented by Irwin Mitchell who have fallen ill over the past five years while staying at the hotel. The settlement payments for the under-18s in the party were confirmed by a judge at an Infant Approval Hearing today, December 17th.
Clive Garner, head of Irwin Mitchell’s renowned Travel Litigation Team, welcomed the decision to settle the cases but called on First Choice to agree settlements without delay for holidaymakers who travelled in subsequent years.
First Choice – the only UK tour operator to send sunseekers to the four-star resort – has admitted it was also at fault for the illnesses suffered in 2006 and 2007. But it continues to deny liability for last year’s major outbreak and has yet to confirm whether it will accept responsibility for the 700 people affected this year.
Clive Garner said: “The decision by First Choice to settle these cases will go some way to helping our clients put their horrific holidays behind them but it is time the hundreds of people affected in 2008 and 2009 were compensated in the same way.
“That these settlements date back to holidays in 2005 reflects the dreadful record of this hotel and it really is time for First Choice to stop taking any more bookings at this hotel unless standards are improved sufficiently to enable guests to take holidays there without the risk of contracting illness.
“These are not minor complaints but large outbreaks of serious illness. How many more innocent children, parents and couples have to fall seriously ill and be left with long-term symptoms at this hotel before adequate action is taken?”
Among the group of adults was Anne Marie Brolly, from Roystonhill, Glasgow, who travelled to the Holiday Village Turkey in September 2005.
The mother-of-one started to suffer gastric illness and stomach cramps on the second day of the fortnight break but things became more serious when she returned to Scotland.
On the morning after arriving home she was hit by crippling stomach pains and began vomiting and suffering acute diarrhoea. Tests confirmed the presence of salmonella and cryptosporidium.
Anne Marie, 39, said: “The sickness and diarrhoea lasted for three weeks and it was horrific. I rang NHS Direct twice because of pain in my neck and they said I had probably strained it from vomiting so often.
“After the initial bout of illness it settled down but it was still another nine weeks before I could go back to work because I could never stray too far from a toilet and felt completely run down.
“It wasn’t until April 2008 that I returned to normal and could handle rich foods again without suffering illness.”
Anne Marie says she now warns people away from staying at the Holiday Village Turkey but believes First Choice should take more responsibility and prevent holidaymakers from staying there.
She said: “I actually tried to cancel my holiday before going because I’d seen television programmes about people falling ill at the hotel but First Choice said they were just teething problems and had been sorted.
“I just wish I had cancelled because it became the worst experience of my life. To think people are still being sent there is unbelievable – what happened to me wasn’t just a one-off, it has been going on for five years and has to stop.”