276 Holidaymakers Seeking Compensation For Ruined Holidays
Travel lawyers at Irwin Mitchell are taking legal action on behalf of 276 clients whose holidays at the Royal Park Hotel in Bulgaria were ruined by illness.
The law firm say that tour operator First Choice’s continued denial of responsibility for the illness outbreak has forced them to take Court action.
The holidaymakers all stayed at the Royal Park Hotel between June and October 2008. They suffered various illnesses including Shigella.
Travel specialists at Irwin Mitchell have already recovered compensation on behalf of 95 tourists who stayed at the hotel in 2004, 2005 and 2007.
Clive Garner, head of travel law at Irwin Mitchell, said: “It is almost beyond belief that First Choice has continued to deny liability for this terrible outbreak of illness at the Royal Park Hotel.
“Many of our clients suffered severe illness at this hotel with some suffering Shigella, an illness which can have fatal consequences.
“A number of clients have told us that they were unable to obtain medical treatment in resort as the queues at the clinic were so long because of the number of guests seeking medical treatment for illness. Around 40 of our clients also had to seek hospital treatment on their return home.
“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. The failures that occurred at this hotel were very serious indeed and should not be tolerated. First Choice’s denial of liability and refusal to apologise and voluntarily compensate our clients is breathtaking.
“We want nothing more than for First Choice to sit down with us and negotiate a fair settlement for each of our 276 clients as soon as possible. But if they refuse to do so, we and our clients will see them in Court."
Claire Shillinglaw, 26 from Galashiels, was very excited to take children Anneleise, now three, and Lewis Baillie, nine, on their first family holiday to Royal Park resort, Bulgaria. However, within days both children had fallen ill with severe gastric symptoms.
She said: “When I first went into First Choice, about seven months before we went on holiday, they told me the hotel was fantastic, ideal for young families, and that it came highly recommended.
“I was pleased with it when we first arrived but very quickly Lewis became seriously ill and stayed that way for the rest of the holiday. Then Anneleise caught it and she was very ill as well – it was horrible as she was only one at the time.
“We couldn’t go on any excursions because we had to be near a toilet at all times and I was ill for a further four weeks once we got home, too.
“So many people at the resort were ill, it was a nightmare. By the end of the holiday, other holidaymakers were standing at the front gates telling people not to come in.”
To add insult to injury, Anneleise was nearly hit by a golf buggy, driven by a young member of hotel staff. “It was raining and these two young lads were messing around in a golf buggy, driving it at top speed around the ground. He lost control and came heading straight for my daughter. I managed to pull her out the way but I have no doubt she would have been killed if I hadn’t been nearby,” Mrs Shillinglaw added.
“I am outraged that First Choice has dragged its heels like this – they were still recommending the resort to families even after we had filed our complaint. People respect the name ‘First Choice’, however the way they have treated us shows that they have absolutely no respect for their customers.
“I can’t believe that after the whole ordeal they are going to put us through even more strain by going to the courts, instead of accepting that they have done wrong.”