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First Choice Urged To Stop Sending Holidaymakers To Holiday Village Turkey

Complaint Cases Top 500 As Serious Sickness Confirmed


Travel law experts at Irwin Mitchell have urged First Choice to stop sending holidaymakers to the sickness-prone Holiday Village Turkey after being instructed to take legal action by more than 500 angry British guests.

The latest sickness outbreak is the fifth in five years at the hotel, bringing the total number of guests taking legal action since 2005 to more than 1,100. This includes more than 135 confirmed cases of salmonella food poisoning.

This year’s outbreak includes 46 guests who have reported positive tests for salmonella since they returned home. Three other guests reported contracting campylobacter, while dozens of other holidaymakers are awaiting their test results.

Cases this year cover the whole summer season, ranging from May to the last week of September.

The hotel, in Sarigerme, has a history of illness outbreaks stretching back to 2005, when it was known as the Pegasus Palace.

Solicitors at Irwin Mitchell have labelled the latest problems “shameful” and urged First Choice not to send holidaymakers there in 2010.

Despite a fifth year of tourists suffering health problems, serious concerns about the quality and safety of food, and in the face of questions from Irwin Mitchell and the BBC’s Watchdog, First Choice has refused to stop sending guests to the resort.

Clive Garner, head of travel litigation at Irwin Mitchell, said: “Enough is enough. The Holiday Village Turkey’s record is utterly shameful and this cannot be allowed to go on any longer.

“Having considered with our experts the evidence currently available, we expect that many more of our clients will soon have a diagnosis made of Salmonella or other food poisoning. This is entirely consistent with the Salmonella outbreaks in the previous four years at this hotel.

“We have seen no evidence to support First Choice's suggestion of viral illness being the cause of the epidemic at the Holiday Village and we call upon them to finally accept that they are liable and to compensate our clients for the illnesses they contracted and work with us to agree fair compensation to all those affected as soon as possible.

“We now represent more than 550 people whose hard-earned holidays were ruined this year, and that makes more than 1,100 in total in the last five years. How many more innocent children, parents and couples have to fall seriously ill at this hotel before First Choice takes action?”

Garner added: “These are not minor complaints about the odd bad meal. We’re talking about repeated outbreaks of illnesses and about hundreds of children and adults who will be left with long-term illnesses and health problems due to repeated failures at this hotel for which the hotel's management and First Choice are both responsible.”

“Yet again, we see people falling ill right across the summer season at a hotel with an appalling track record of serious outbreaks of sickness. We said a year ago that fundamental changes in the hotel’s food hygiene standards and procedures needed to be made and that guests should not be sent there until the changes were made and it was safe to stay there. First Choice can’t say it hasn’t been warned and it has had more than enough time to sort this out.

“It’s time to either shut this hotel down and sort it out once and for all, or for First Choice to simply stop taking any more bookings.”

Mr Garner revealed that Irwin Mitchell is now aware of:

  • More than forty-five reported cases of salmonella food poisoning this summer
  • Three reported cases of campylobacter (a condition usually caused by exposure to contaminated food or water, or eating raw meat)
  • More than 260 British guests at the hotel since 2005 who have suffered salmonella or similar food poisoning
  • Numerous men, women and children left with ongoing health issues following their stay at the hotel

Irwin Mitchell has heard many complaints about the food being served at the all-inclusive resort, as well as sub-standard and unhygienic conditions at the hotel, including faeces in the swimming pool.

Many guests have also reported enduring acute pain and discomfort over a prolonged period, including sickness, diarrhoea and severe stomach cramps. Many holidaymakers received treatment at hospital in the resort, with whole families struck down and one baby even being put on a drip.

Mr Garner added: “Garner added: “So far this summer, we have been instructed by more than 550 guests of the Holiday Village Turkey, but from previous experience of claims arising at this hotel and many others we fear that this is just be the tip of the iceberg. More than 100 people rang us last week alone to report falling ill there and the season hasn’t ended yet.

“Tour operators have a duty of care to ensure that the hotels where they send their customers meet reasonable health and safety standards that are in place for a very good reason. If they cannot ensure holidaymakers’ safety, the answer is simple - stop sending them there.”

The hotel was previously known as the Pegasus Palace but changed its name after 140 people took legal action against First Choice following illness outbreaks in 2005, 2006 and 2007.