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Sun, Sea, Sand...and Salmonella

Irwin Mitchell Holiday Illness Report – Worst Five Holiday Hotspots


Sun, Sea, Sand … and Salmonella

As preparations for the 2010 summer getaway get into full swing, some unfortunate holidaymakers could find that their dream destination is not everything the travel brochures would have them believe.

National law firm, Irwin Mitchell has revealed the worst five holiday hotspots, based on the number of new cases it took on in 2009, which could make uneasy reading for anyone who has already booked their hard-earned trip abroad.

The firm, which has the UK's largest team of lawyers helping British holidaymakers who have either been injured or fallen ill abroad, has published its annual list which names and shames the world's five worst destinations.

Topping the Irwin Mitchell complaints list for the second year running is Turkey with 41% of all complaints.  Cruises (19%) are a surprise new entry at number two, following a spate of widespread illness outbreaks on a number of large cruise ships.  Down one from number two, but still firmly in the list of shame at number three is Egypt (15%).  A non-mover at number four is family favourite, Spain, (6%) whilst number five sees a re-entry for Dominican Republic (4%), moving up from last year's number six spot.

Clive Garner is Head of Irwin Mitchell's International Travel team. He explains: "We do find that countries tend to dip in and out of the 'worst five' list. It's a cyclical thing, which can partly be attributed to holiday trends, for example a sudden rise in popularity of a particular destination, compared with previous years. However, it can also be a sign that standards may be slipping and adequate action is not being taken to address the problems in resort.

"What links most of these illness complaints is basic lack of hotel hygiene. We're not talking here about people who are suffering a mild case of 'holiday tummy,' but of often serious and in some cases life threatening illnesses, such as salmonella, dysentery and Legionnaires Disease. It is also a matter of great concern to us that some hotel exhibit repeated problems year after year."

Clive Garner has the following advice for anyone experiencing problems abroad:

  • If you are faced with illness or other serious difficulties in resort it is important to complain as soon as possible to the local holiday rep
  • Make sure you complete a written complaint form and keep a copy
  • Take photographs and videos to support your complaint and swap contact details with other holidaymakers who have suffered problems
  • If you seek medical help whilst abroad, make sure you get a copy of the doctor's report
  • If your complaint is not addressed, you should write to the tour operator within 28 days of returning to the UK and seek follow up medical treatment for any illness you have suffered
  • If your complaint is not satisfactorily resolved at this stage you may wish to take legal advice from a solicitor specialising in foreign personal injury claims