A Spanish lawyer representing hotels on the receiving end of multiple sickness claims by UK holidaymakers has hailed the campaign to cut bogus claims but says hoteliers in Spain remain wary.
Marie Rogers of Madrid-based law firm Rogers & Co said: “There has been a significant reduction in claims compared with this time last year. Lawyers in the UK who had 20-30 claims suddenly no longer pursued them. Judges in the UK are scrutinising cases more. It’s a very different outlook.”
But she said Spanish hoteliers “are wary of how they were treated. This fraud hit the sector hard and there is a feeling it took a long time to turn around. Claims have significantly reduced, but the issue is still fresh in the memory.
“The costs run into millions [of euros]. One UK law firm had 3,000 claims. It was an industry. UK tour operators wanted to fight but were happy to pass on the bills to hotels.” Spanish police have estimated the cost to Spain’s hotels alone at €60 million.
Rogers said: “When you get 3,000-4,000 claims at one ago, only from the UK and only all-inclusive, it made people wary. It gave Brits on all-inclusive packages to the Costa del Sol and Magaluf a bad name.
“The claims seemed so absurd, hoteliers didn’t take them seriously until it was too late. Now they are monitoring all-inclusives closely. We assume hotels have increased prices – their insurance premiums will have gone up – but we’ve not seen hotels stop selling all-inclusive [to the UK].”
She suggested the fraud and the fight against it have also had “a positive effect”, saying: “It forced hoteliers to look at their systems. Hoteliers are monitoring visitors more in restaurants [and] British visitors should be more aware now that, if you are ill, you tell the hotel and see a doctor.”
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