An “alarming” rise in gastric illness compensation claims made through UK claims management companies has prompted Abta to call for action from government.

The issue has been raised with officials from the Ministry of Justice to highlight the growing problem.

Evidence compiled by Abta points towards an increase in the travel-related activities of claims management companies, following civil justice reforms in 2012. 

The reforms included measures which were intended to clamp down on fraudulent personal injury claims, but excluded incidents that occurred overseas from the expansion of the regime for fixed recoverable costs.

This has spawned a rise in specialist legal firms creating brands specifically to fish for business on social media and online.

Abta is collating data and feedback after members reported dramatic increases in claims this year.

But evidence to date shows that the significant increases in gastric illness claims simply do not match up with recorded sickness levels in resort.

Only last week a group of Spanish resort hoteliers reported a “huge increase” in the number of compensation claims for alleged ailments from British holidaymakers.

They argue that there is often no evidence to support the claims, estimated to cost more than €60 million.

They blame the UK compensation claims industry for increasingly targeting holidaymakers with aggressive marketing campaigns to encourage the filing of thousands of unfounded complaints.

Abta is calling on the government and other regulators to consider what can be done to address the issue.

It has outlined some important steps including enabling travel companies to benefit from the fixed costs regime. 

Abta chief executive Mark Tanzer said: “This trend is a serious concern for our members, for the industry as a whole and for consumers. 

“It was clear from our meeting with the Ministry of Justice that they recognise that this is a real issue that merits further attention.

“We will continue to work proactively with the policymakers and regulators, sharing intelligence and data to support the industry’s case for change.”