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Compensation For Tourists Hit By Illness In Turkey

Guests Suffered Various Illnesses Including Salmonella


A group of 117 holidaymakers, including more than 50 children, have been awarded a compensation settlement totalling £371,500 after their Turkish holidays were ruined by illness.

15 of the children suffered salmonella food poisoning, which can be particularly dangerous to young people. More than £159,000 of the total compensation award went to the children.

All of the tourists fell ill while staying at the Pegasus Palace Hotel in Sarigerme, Turkey in 2006.

A large number of holidaymakers had to visit doctors in the resort and some were even placed on a drip.

The hotel changed its name in 2007 to Holiday Village Turkey but since 2007 continued to suffer issues of gastric illness caused poor health and safety and was the subject of an investigation by the BBC’s Watchdog show in 2009. Over 1,200 people have taken legal action with travel law specialists at Irwin Mitchell after falling ill at the hotel since 2005.

Lawyers from the firm have welcomed the compensation settlement but warned that tour operator First Choice needs to learn lessons.

Irwin Mitchell is representing hundreds of clients who fell ill with illnesses including salmonella and campylobacter at the same hotel between 2007 and 2010.

Elizabeth Tetzner, an expert in illness abroad claims at the firm, said: “While we welcome the decision to settle these claims, it is appalling that the holidaymakers have had to wait so long for justice. We were just three weeks away from trial when First Choice agreed to settle. It’s a huge relief for our clients who can now begin to move on with their lives.

“What is most worrying is that we have seen large numbers of guests at this hotel suffer illness every year since 2005. The name may have changed but the same problems remain. There are real concerns that important lessons are just not being learnt. On the independent travel website, TripAdvisor.com as recently as July 2011 travellers continue to report issues in relation to poor standards of hygiene and illness at the hotel.

“If First Choice cannot guarantee the safety of their guests by enforcing the strict health and safety guidelines in place, then they should not be sending people to the hotel. We urge the tour operator to work with us swiftly and amicably to resolve the cases of hundreds of other holidaymakers whose holidays were ruined by poor standards.”

Nina and Matthew Ellis travelled to the Pegasus Palace in 2006 with their children Brodie, Jake and Georgia. Their holiday was ruined by illness, with some members of the family still suffering symptoms even now.

Nina said: “At the time we were expecting a luxury family break in Turkey, but instead our holiday was ruined by illness. I even had to have time off from work to look after my children who were still ill when we got home.

“The quality of food in the restaurant was very poor. It was not chilled to the right temperatures and there were even birds flying in and out of the restaurant. Tables were not cleaned in between guests using them and our room was not cleaned properly. It was not the luxury family holiday we were expecting.

“We are relieved that Irwin Mitchell has been able to fight on our behalf to help us achieve justice. We worked hard to save for that holiday and it was just taken away from us due to poor standards of hygiene.”