TravelTek

Published on Thursday, June 29, 2017

Brits' 'weak stomachs' have made them 'laughing stock of Europe'



Thomas Cook Group chief executive Peter Fankhauser claimed today that British tourists have become the laughing stock of Europe due to a 500% rise in holiday sickness claims.

Fankhauser, a Swiss national, told the ABTA Travel Matters conference that there was a joke that the British have weak stomachs and the Germans have stronger constitutions.


"Europe is laughing at the Brits, but this is not a good situation," he said. "It is starting to backfire on British holidaymakers and on the industry."

He said that as a result of what ABTA described as a 'steep and unprecedent' rise in claims, many of which are bogus, the future of all-inclusive package was threatened as hoteliers are growing increasingly reluctant to take British holidaymakers and risk fake food-poisoning claims. "We are seeing this with some of our big hotel partners," added Fankhauser. "And the Germans are laughing again because they will get the rooms."

Fankhauser blamed the UK government for being too slow to close a loophole that allows unlimited damages claims for overseas sickness claims while claims for injuries sustained in the UK come under a fixed cost regime.

ABTA claims there has been a rise in the number of management companies targeting holidaymakers in resorts and encouraging them to submit bogus sickness claims. The Foreign Office has started warning holidaymakers travelling to holiday hotspots about such firms and of the risks of submitting false claims. It has recently added Cyprus to the list of destinations where claims touts are known to be operating.

And the Government announced in the Queen's Speech this month that it plans to regulate claims management companies, bringing them within the oversight of the FCA for the first time.

However, ABTA launched a 'Stop Sickness Scams' campaign last week to try to encourage the government to go further and limit holiday sickness claims to a fixed amount. When the Association's chief executive Mark Tanzer was asked at Travel Matters by Independent travel correspondent Simon Calder if he thought that a government that had so much on its plate really had time for such a matter, Tanzer replied: "I'm not a lawyer but I understand it's a relatively small change."

Barrister Sarah Prager, who specialises in defending personal injury claims, told Travel Matters she had seen a 'huge increase' in holiday sickness claims at her London law firm.

"Until about a year ago food poisoning claims were a very small part of my practice and most were genuine and very serious, A year ago, it was mostly people who fell down the stairs in Turkey, now it is people who have been 'a bit ill' for a couple of weeks," she said.

"There has been a massive increase in these claims, and tour operators aren't coping, they aren't coping."

Prager said some hotels were beginning to take matters into their own hands and using 'direct action' to deal with claims management companies operating in resorts. Her advice to UK tour operators was to settle 'obviously genuine' claims and 'go in hard on obvious fraudulent ones'.


 

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  • Food Poinsoning More too much Drinking!!

    From my experience it is not the food which is causing the issue, it is the continued approach to Bing Drinking the British holiday makers always follow. No other nations citizens act like the British do when they are overseas, for some reason the British always have to drink to excess, no wonder they end up feeling rough & unable to keep food down. Seeing the British overseas is an emabarrassement as it is the Briths holiday makers who set the picture of what we are like to the rest of the world, anyone would think that last orders was being called forever seeing them drink everything in sight.

    By Bob Motto, Thursday, June 29, 2017

  • Weak Stomachs

    I guess they'll always be some genuine cases of food poisoning but even among those who really do believe they are suffering from it, in reality it's nothing but a bit of a dodgy tummy and it's a mix of things, high temperatures + too much unprotected sun + not drinking enough water + drinking too much alcohol + change of diet + change of cooking methods/oils etc. As a once tour operator, we often had people saying they had food poisoning but it never was, even once but it was always a combination of the above, once they'd acclimatised, they were always fine. For bogus claims, there needs to be very heavy fines and a criminal record, that should focus their minds a bit.

    By Keith Standen, Thursday, June 29, 2017

  • The whinging brits

    It really is time the operators fought back at bogus sickness complaints, though some operators are known to encourage their customers to complain in order to secure refunds for their customers, part of which they retain for themselves! It is scarcely every day that the Brits would eat Paella (let alone pronounce it) and to eat such fine food is going to affect some people adversely. That they have weak stomachs has no bearing on the quality of the food. How many complain or seek compensation for sickness following a late night curry at a UK restaurant? A colleague of mine sat on a flight to MCO and noticed a man next to him making notes. He enquired if he was keeping a diary of his holiday to which the man replied, " no, I am preparing my complaint letter for a refund". Beware, it is not just bogus sicknesses that make the Brits unpopular!

    By Peter Mackness, Thursday, June 29, 2017

  • The whinging brits

    It really is time the operators fought back at bogus sickness complaints, though some operators are known to encourage their customers to complain in order to secure refunds for their customers, part of which they retain for themselves! It is scarcely every day that the Brits would eat Paella (let alone pronounce it) and to eat such fine food is going to affect some people adversely. That they have weak stomachs has no bearing on the quality of the food. How many complain or seek compensation for sickness following a late night curry at a UK restaurant? A colleague of mine sat on a flight to MCO and noticed a man next to him making notes. He enquired if he was keeping a diary of his holiday to which the man replied, " no, I am preparing my complaint letter for a refund". Beware, it is not just bogus sicknesses that make the Brits unpopular!

    By Peter Mackness, Thursday, June 29, 2017

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