Travel law firm Irwin Mitchell has called on First Choice to clean up its Holiday Village resort in Turkey or stop sending customers there because of continued sickness claims by holidaymakers.
It is the fifth year in a row the law firm has dealt with holidaymakers who have fallen ill at the four-star 1,000-room complex in Sarigerme, previously known as Pegasus Palace.
Solicitor Juliette Eden said the firm was bracing itself for another summer of problems if the issue was not dealt with promptly. “It’s entirely possible that yet more holidaymakers have had their holiday ruined,” she added.
So far this year the firm has had 46 enquiries by holidaymakers seeking to take legal action, but in the previous four years more than 550 holidaymakers made compensation claims through the firm. The lion’s share, more than 400 claims, were last year.
Now the firm has called on First Choice – which offers the Holiday Village exclusively in the UK – to take action.
Clive Garner, head of the firm’s travel law team, said: “Lessons clearly have not been learnt. We have already received enquiries from dozens of people [this year] and they have told us of high levels of illness throughout the hotel, including salmonella infection.
“What we are saying to First Choice is simple. More needs to be done to tackle the health and hygiene at this hotel. Either sort it out, once and for all, or stop sending people there.”
Eden said there had also been other reports of faeces in the swimming pool and dirty toilets, and added it was unusual for one hotel to have problems for five years in a row.
“You would have thought after last year something would have been done; it beggars belief that we are still hearing about this. Salmonella is not just holiday tummy; it’s something far more serious.”
But First Choice maintained reports of sickness at the resort this year were “very low”.
After last year’s increase in complaints, First Choice sent a specialist consultant to the property, who concluded the illness was the result of an airborne virus, and not services provided by the hotel.
A spokeswoman said: “We closely monitor all the hotels to which we operate to ensure that the strictest health, safety, hygiene and comfort levels are maintained.
“On 28 July 2009, the hotel was nearly at full capacity, with 3,613 guests in residence. Out of all these holidaymakers there have only been four reports of minor illness in the last week, which equates to 0.1% of the total hotel guest population – very low for this time of year.”
The hotel expects more than 46,500 holidaymakers to travel to the hotel this year.
She added: “The Holiday Village in Turkey continues to be a very popular holiday choice with our customers and is rated very highly in customer satisfaction surveys.”
Average temperatures in Turkey hit a high of 47C last week. “These high temperatures and overall climate can have a negative impact on the well-being of guests while abroad,” said the spokeswoman.
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