Dominican Republic Illness Outbreak
Travel lawyers acting for a wedding party of 42 people whose dream ceremony in the Dominican Republic was ruined by illness have expressed their frustration at the tour operator’s refusal to accept responsibility.
Wedding guests have now lodged court proceedings against TUI UK Ltd, owners of First Choice.
Almost every member of the wedding party was struck down by gastric illness while staying at the Gran Bahia Principe resort in Punta Cana in July 2007. The outbreak ruined Nicholas and Jacqueline Gair’s plans for a “perfect” wedding day.
Travel law experts at Irwin Mitchell have now criticised the tour operator’s failure to accept responsibility for the illness and ruined wedding.
Members of the party reported dirty cutlery and crockery, insects on food and reheated and undercooked food at the all-inclusive resort. Guests also reported a dirty swimming pool, problems with the hot water supply and a foul smell from the plumbing.
Jacqueline Gair, the bride, described conditions at the hotel: “I can’t believe that we were put through this on what should have been one of the happiest days of our lives. My family were so ill that we could barely eat the food at our reception and we had to go straight back to the hotel room afterwards to be close to a bathroom. My children were forced to take time off school after their return home to recover.”
The couple were also told by First Choice that they would be able to choose the time of their ceremony, but when they arrived at the hotel they were told that they could only have the ceremony at 12 o’clock, the hottest part of the day.
Mrs Gair said: “I feel completely let down and will never, never use First Choice again.”
Amandeep Samra of Irwin Mitchell is representing the group and said: “It is unacceptable for members of the public to be faced with accommodation and catering that is not fit for purpose.
“Hygiene conditions at this resort were so bad that 38 members of a group of 42 were struck down by illness. Tour operators have a duty to protect customers and make sure that basic hygiene standards are in place.
“It is disappointing that TUI UK Ltd has not admitted responsibility for the illnesses and ruined holidays and worked with us to negotiate a compensation package for our clients. This failure has meant that it is necessary for us to start formal legal proceedings at Court.
“Our clients deserve compensation for their illnesses and the shocking service that they received. Sadly the wedding will remain memorable for them for all the wrong reasons. We urge TUI to work with us to try and resolve this situation as soon as possible.”