British holidaymakers face missing out on cheaper, all-inclusive deals because Spanish hoteliers have had enough of bogus sickness compensation claims by UK tourists.
Hotels in popular resorts in Spain have reportedly stopped selling the packages through the UK websites of Thomson and Thomas Cook after a surge in claims – but the value deals are still available to German travellers.
Hoteliers made the decision after a more than fourfold increase in the number of Britons claiming compensation for falling sick from food or drink while abroad. The many thousands of cases dwarf the numbers from other countries.
Unlike half-board deals that are still being offered to Britons, all-inclusive packages make it easier for fraudsters to fabricate illness claims and blame it on a hotel where they will have had meals and drinks throughout the day.
Many Spanish hotels booked through Thomson and Thomas Cook will only provide half-board accommodation from next year.
However, all-inclusive deals can still be accessed when booking through the European versions of the sites, the Mail on Sunday reported.
Seven nights half-board for two people at the Costa Canaria in Gran Canaria next year, flying from Gatwick, can be booked on the Thomson site for £883 per person. In contrast, a one-week all-inclusive stay at the same hotel in the same week for two, flying from Cologne, can be booked on the German site for £821 each.
The island’s Eugenie Victoria cannot be booked through Thomas Cook for an all-inclusive stay flying from the UK next summer but the full package is available on its German counterpart, Neckermann.
The newspaper also found that two hotels owned by the Best chain in Spain are offering full packages to Britons this year but only half-board accommodation from next summer.
Thomson said: “We are starting to see a direct impact on our UK customers’ holiday choices as a result of the staggering rise in illness claims. For future seasons, one of our hoteliers has taken the decision to only offer holidays to the UK market on a half-board rather than all-inclusive basis.
“This is the first time all of our customers will feel an impact from the actions of those who have made fraudulent or exaggerated claims for sickness by having their holiday options limited.”
Thomas Cook UK managing director Chris Mottershead added: “This shows how serious the issue of fake illness claims has now become. Criminal activity by a growing minority is already restricting choice for innocent British holidaymakers.
“Unless we stamp this out, more hotels will stop offering all-inclusive holidays to Britons or even stop accepting British bookings altogether, and holiday prices will go up.”
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office last week added Bulgaria and Turkey to the list of countries where tourists making bogus claims could face criminal charges.