Egyptian Holidays Ruined By Illness
Travel lawyers at Irwin Mitchell have been contacted for the fourth year running by guests who have been taken ill after staying at the Holiday Village Red Sea in Sharm El Sheikh.
The law firm has received calls from more than 80 holidaymakers who were taken ill at the hotel this summer.
The conditions reported by the holidaymakers echo those made by 125 tourists who were taken ill at the hotel in previous outbreaks in 2007, 2008 and 2009.
Lawyers from Irwin Mitchell say they fear that there may still be other people yet to come forward following this year’s outbreak. A number of guests have also posted complaints and descriptions of their illness on travel review websites.
Irwin Mitchell urged tour operator First Choice – the only tour operator to send guests to the resort – to “get to the root of the problem this time”.
Suki Chhokar, an expert in travel law at the firm, said: “The fact that we have been contacted by holidaymakers who all stayed at the hotel in July, August and September this year, and who all became ill, is very disturbing, particularly as we raised serious concerns about Holiday Village Red Sea at the start of the summer.
“At the time, we asked for fundamental changes to be made to the hotel’s food hygiene standards and for procedures to be put in place, maintained and carefully monitored. It appears that our concerns have been ignored and as a result more people have suffered needlessly.
“Our reaction – and more importantly, that of our clients, is just one of utter dismay this time. It is beyond belief that First Choice continues to get away with sending its customers to Holiday Village Red Sea when illness at the resort has been rife for so long and continues to be so.
“We are not talking about one or two people here. We already represent 125 people from previous years, many of whom still suffer as a result of their illness today. Some were diagnosed with serious conditions such as Salmonella and in 2008 one client was even confirmed to have contracted Shigella.
“Things have to change and they have to change now. First Choice needs to do the decent thing by its customers and there must be an immediate investigation and this time, for everyone’s sake, they need to get to the root of the problem.”
Among those taken ill was Amy Higgins from Doncaster. She stayed at the Holiday Village Red Sea with seven members of her family, all of whom were taken ill, including her three-year-old son Logan.
Amy said: “The conditions at the hotel were appalling. It stank of sewage everywhere, especially the toilets, the swimming pools had faeces floating in them and chicken dishes were served pink in the middle.
“We all got ill and felt absolutely dreadful, but I was particularly concerned for Logan. He is only little and was so poorly, and he is still suffering now we are home as he’s been diagnosed with Cryptosporidium – which we’ve been told can be really dangerous for young children.
“I was really worried about my aunt Christine too, she is suffering with cancer, and it was heartbreaking to see what should have been a nice holiday for her to take her mind of things being totally ruined by illness.”
She added: “We love going to Egypt as a family, my aunt’s been there eight times, but this experience was so horrendous we will never, ever go back again. It’s put us off for life.
“To find out that people stayed at this resort before us and were poorly, and that First Choice was aware of this, is unbelievable. I am furious that they could have easily prevented what we went through.”
Reviews on Trip Advisor claim that other guests suffered severe gastric illness after stays at the hotel, including salmonella and dysentery.
Suki Chhokar continues: “It is totally unacceptable that Amy and her entire family ended up so ill whilst on holiday at Holiday Village Red Sea. Our experiences indicate that gastric illnesses can have long term health consequences or even permanent problems, especially for young children and people who have existing health conditions.
“The history of illness at this hotel is indefensible and it is difficult to believe that in spite of this First Choice has continued to allow people to travel there this summer and now, once again, we are seeing guests being struck down with illness.
“Tour operators have a duty of care to ensure that the hotels where they send their customers meet health and safety standards that are in place for a very good reason. If they cannot ensure holidaymakers’ safety, they must stop sending people there and this must be the case when it comes to Holiday Village Red Sea. It’s just not safe and will not be until an investigation has taken place.”