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Worst Five Holiday Illness Hotspots Revealed

Turkey Tops Irwin Mitchell’s Annual Holiday Complaints List


The worst holiday illness hotspots of 2014 have been revealed as the latest figures show Turkey came out on top of an annual list of destinations with the most complaints from British tourists.

Cruise holidays had topped the annual list of most complained about holidays for the past four years although it has been knocked off the top spot, illness on-board cruise ships still accounted for the second most holiday complaints last year.

The list is based on the number of complaints reported to the UK’s leading and largest travel law team at national law firm Irwin Mitchell by holidaymakers whose trips during 2014 – often to expensive luxury all-inclusive resorts – were ruined by either illness or complaints regarding the quality of the service provided. 

Holidays to Turkey accounted for 28% of cases dealt with by Irwin Mitchell’s specialist lawyers, with Cruises (17%), Spain (15%), Egypt (12%) and Greece (7%) making up the rest of the top five most complained of destinations where holidaymakers suffered illness.

Irwin Mitchell has represented thousands of holidaymakers and recovered millions of pounds for holidaymakers and passengers over 20 years after their breaks were ruined due to injury or illness.

Lawyers say most of the problems reported to them are due to inadequate health, hygiene and food standards and are repeating their calls for tour operators to do more to ensure hygiene standards are improved.

As well as family holidays, tourists have suffered ruined honeymoons, wedding anniversaries and birthday celebrations and many of those who were seriously ill have required hospital or other emergency medical treatment. 

Holidaymakers have suffered from serious illnesses such as Salmonella, E-coli Cryptosporidium, and Campylobacter all of which can cause long-lasting health problems such as irritable bowel syndrome – and lawyers say that from their discussions with experts, it appears that many incidents could have been avoided with better hygiene standards.

Expert Opinion
“Unfortunately, the same issues, such as poor food preparation, and cross contamination of food accounts for a significant proportion of illness cases which we deal with.

“What is worrying about our research is that many of the destinations and indeed many of the individual hotels and cruise liners featured have appeared in our research before.

"Tour operators and cruise line operators need to recognise their responsibility to their customers to ensure that the appropriate standards of hygiene, health and safety are maintained.

“Gastric illness and food poisoning can be very serious and we have many clients that have been diagnosed with illnesses including Salmonella, Cryptosporidium, Campylobacter and E-Coli while on holiday. This is unacceptable and tour operators and hoteliers must take responsibility for their guests’ welfare.”
Suki Chhokar, Partner

Irwin Mitchell’s five most complained about destinations for 2014 were:

1) Turkey
Turkey has featured on the list several times in recent years and was second for complaints from holidaymakers in 2013. In 2014 problems have been reported at hotels including the Grand Oasis, Tiara Beach, Holiday Village, and Marmaris to name but a few.

2) Cruises 
Although not technically a destination, cruises topped the complaints list for the past four years and are still in second place. Irwin Mitchell is currently representing passengers following illness suffered on-board the Azura, Oriana and Thomson Celebration cruise ships amongst others.

3) Egypt 
Sharm El Sheikh and the Red Sea are popular destinations for holidaymakers but many tourists are returning home with more than they bargained for, despite a high number of the resorts being four and five star.

The Siva Sharm and Sensatori Coral Sea hotels are just two of the popular resorts guests complained to Irwin Mitchell about last year. 

4) Spain
Spain and the Spanish islands remain the most popular holiday destinations in Europe for British holidaymakers so it is perhaps no surprise that it is among the worst destinations in terms of illness. In 2014 Irwin Mitchell was instructed by holidaymakers who had suffered illness in Ibiza, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote and Majorca as well as mainland Spain.

Irwin Mitchell is currently representing holidaymakers following illness suffered at the Oasis Club (Lanzarote) and Azuline Hotel (Ibiza).

5) Greece
Greece is the only country which did not appear on the list last year with complaints coming from guests who were ill at the Lindos Imperial and Lindos Princess hotels during the summer months amongst others

Irwin Mitchell’s Top Tips For People Suffering Holiday Illness

Irwin Mitchell 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 report this as soon as possible to the local holiday rep and the hotel;
  •  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.

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