Lawyers representing more than 870 holidaymakers who fell ill in the Dominican Republic are confident of winning compensation.

Law firm Irwin Mitchell is representing more than 750 customers who recently stayed at the Bahia Principe Hotel, and a further 70 who stayed at its sister hotel, the Gran
Bahia Principe.

All the complaints involve gastroenteritis-type sickness following stays at the hotels since April. Partner Clive Garner, head of the law firm’s international travel litigation group, said he was confident the tour operators will settle before the case is heard. He said the island had experienced problems since 1997.

Manchester-based law firm Pannone is representing 50 clients of First Choice and Thomas Cook who stayed at the island’s Riu Merengue, Occidental Grand Punta Cana and Dominicana hotels, and reported similar symptoms.

Pannone head of travel law Andrew Morton suggested it was only a matter of time before the travel firms settled the claims.

He said: “You have to force them to do it and the only way to do that is to be part of a big group.”

However, Federation of Tour Operators director-general Andy Cooper expressed confidence the tour operators would not have to compensate holidaymakers as the main source of the outbreak was believed to have been brought in by a guest and many of the complainants only suffered symptoms for about 24 hours.

Cooper said: “There are strong grounds for defending this case.”

None of the operators would comment, due to the legal action, but confirmed they were directing clients away from some of the affected properties.