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Travel Lawyers Reveal Five Worst Holiday Destinations

Cruises Now Account For Almost A Third Of Complaints


Experts in travel law at Irwin Mitchell have published their annual list of the five worst holiday destinations.

The list is based on complaints heard by travel lawyers at the firm and also the number of reported cases of illness amongst British tourists in 2010.

While the order of the top five has changed since the last report, the five worst destinations remain the same.

Topping the list this year are cruises. Having been second on the list last year, cruises now make up almost a third of all the enquiries received by the firm, largely down to widespread illness outbreaks on large cruise ships.

Egypt is second on the list, making up 20% of all enquiries received by the firm. Turkey drops to third from second, with illness there accounting for 17% of all complaints to Irwin Mitchell.

Spain and the Dominican Republic, both regulars in the list, take up the 4th and 5th spots. Just outside the top five are Tunisia, Cuba and Mexico.

Clive Garner, head of the Travel Law team at Irwin Mitchell, said: “Although in the past we have seen countries dropping in and out of the complaints list, this year’s top five suggests that the main offenders from last year are still not doing enough to clean up their act.

“It is very worrying to see the same five holiday destinations topping the complaints charts again this year. These five destinations make up almost 90 per cent of requests for help that we receive and it is imperative that action is taken urgently by tour operators and cruise line operators to improve standards and reduce the risk of holidaymakers becoming ill on holiday.

“I am also concerned to see another increase in the number of complaints involving cruises, which did not even feature in our report until last year and yet now encompasses almost a third of all complaints.

“The underlying cause of illness across these cases is a failure to implement reasonable standards of health, safety, and hygiene. Our major concern is that although these problems are being highlighted time and again, not enough is being done to rectify them.

“We have many clients that have contracted very serious and in some cases potentially fatal illnesses including Salmonella, Legionnaire’s Disease and E-Coli while on holiday. This is unacceptable and tour operators must take responsibility for their guests’ welfare.”

Clive has issued advice to holidaymakers who may be unfortunate enough to be taken ill while abroad:

  • Complain as soon as possible to your holiday rep
  • Complete a written complaint form and keep a copy for yourself
  • Take photographs and videos to support your complaint, for example of poor hygiene in restaurants.
  • Swap contact details with any other holidaymakers who were taken ill, as you may find it easier to seek compensation as a group
  • Get a copy of the doctor’s report if you need medical assistance while abroad
  • If your complaint is not addressed, write to your tour operator within 28 days of returning to the UK.
  • Make sure you seek follow up treatment in the UK for any illness that you have suffered
  • If your complaint is still not resolved to your satisfaction, you may want to take legal advice from a law firm with specialists in travel claims