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Salmonella Hell For Couple On Luxury Tunisian Holiday

Illness At Houria Palace Hotel



An angry couple is fighting back after a leading tour operator exposed them to unsanitary conditions at a four star Tunisian hotel, resulting in them both falling ill, with one of them diagnosed with salmonella food poisoning.

After enduring a week of unclean conditions and suspect food at the Houria Palace Hotel in Port El Kantaoui, Brian Hercus, 48, and his wife Elizabeth, 46, started experiencing distressing symptoms upon their return home in June. An emergency visit to the doctor revealed that Elizabeth had contracted salmonella.

The couple from Livingston are now working with travel law experts Irwin Mitchell to ensure that other tourists are not exposed to the same risks, after tour operator Thomas Cook refused to even acknowledge their complaint.

Mrs Hercus said: “From the very start the food looked very unappealing; it was served on a buffet table and was often left uncovered. Several times we saw stray cats wander through the room and doors were left open allowing wildlife to come and go as it pleased.

“The staff appeared to have taken very little care over the food preparation, as several times we saw burgers that were still raw in the middle and eggs were served which were only partially cooked. I hate to imagine what went on that we didn’t see.

“This experience has ruined a holiday which should have been wonderful. Now I can’t bear the idea of going away and would be very nervous about eating anything.

”We were so ill when we got home that Brian had to have 4 days off work and I am still off work even now.  I was constantly exhausted for three weeks and suffered really severe stomach cramps. I’m still ill, even though we’ve been back well over a month.

“It’s so insulting that our complaints have just been completely ignored by Thomas Cook since we returned. It’s as though once they had our money they didn’t want to know anymore - there was absolutely no follow through on their claim to provide ‘exceptional service’.”

Lloyd Williams, a travel law expert at Irwin Mitchell Solicitors, said: “Tour operators have a responsibility to ensure that the hotels they send their customers to are safe and that they comply with health and safety regulations, which are in place to protect their guests. 

“This was an extremely upsetting time for Mr and Mrs Hercus who had gone away for a relaxing break, only for both to fall ill and to find out that Mrs Hercus had contracted salmonella food poisoning.  Sadly, many of those affected by salmonella go on to develop long-term illness, sometimes resulting in significant financial losses and expenses.  We hope that Thomas Cook will now work with us to provide swift and fair compensation for our clients.”