First Choice Holidays has agreed pay out £286,500 to a Doncaster man who contracted a serious gastric illness while on honeymoon in the summer of 2004.

Julian Hurley and wife Jane were on a two-week holiday to the Costa Caribe Beach Resort on Margarita Island off the northern coast of Venezuela in the summer of 2004, when he was struck down by the potentially fatal Shigella virus.

The illness had a lasting effect on the man’s health and ability to work, and on the couple’s relationship, their solicitors Irwin Mitchell said.

Describing his experience Hurley said: “When we went to the hotel restaurant I tried a variety of different dishes, which included cooked meats.

“The food was of an extremely poor standard. A lot of the dishes were undercooked, and some of them were almost cold. It was an all-inclusive package and we had not taken much money with us, so we had little option but to eat what was offered.”

Irwin Mitchell international travel law specialist Elizabeth Tetzner said her client’s honeymoon had been ruined and that Mr Hurley now suffers from irritable bowl syndrome, post-traumatic stress and chronic fatigue syndrome.

“It is a tour operator’s responsibility to ensure that standards of hygiene are maintained in the hotel they choose to send holidaymakers to, so that other people do not have to suffer as Mr Hurley has,” Tetzner said.

In a statement, First Choice said: “We were very concerned to hear about Mr Hurley’s illness while staying at the Costa Caribe Beach Hotel in Margarita in August 2004.

“We would like to reassure our customers that their health and safety is of paramount importance.

“We closely monitor all the hotels to which we operate to ensure that the strictest health, safety, hygiene and comfort levels our customers expect are maintained.

“First Choice can confirm that it has made an out of court settlement to Mr Hurley in respect of the illness and subsequent health problems that occurred following his stay at this property.

“Since this incident, First Choice has ceased to operate to the destination of Margarita, and therefore no longer features this hotel in its product offering.”