HUNDREDS of holidaymakers are to share in a £1.7 million payout from First Choice Holidays, after their trips to a resort in Turkey five years ago were blighted by illness.
The Holiday Village resort in Sarigerme was featured on BBC1’s Watchdog programme after guests, including a number of Scots, fell ill while staying there. They suffered from a range of gastric problems, including salmonella poisoning.
The High Court in London yesterday approved a group settlement, which will see more than 160 children and 435 adults who stayed at the hotel receive damages of up to £25,000 each.
More than 400 holidaymakers suffered gastric illness during the summer of 2009, with more than 100 contracting infections such as salmonella, cryptosporidium, campylobacter and E.coli.
A further 150 did not suffer illness themselves, but had their holidays affected by the sickness of family, friends or other guests staying at the hotel.
Holidaymakers reported seeing faeces floating in swimming pools, while some food was seen to be undercooked and left uncovered for long periods. Crockery and cutlery in the restaurant was often found to be dirty and public toilets were grubby and had no hot water.
Some travellers were so ill they needed hospital treatment at the resort, while others still had to be treated after they returned to the UK.
David Knighton, 45, booked a two-week break at the Holiday Village for his family in August 2009 after returning to the UK following a ten-year stint with the armed forces in Germany.
Sons Kieron, 14, and Shane, 17, both fell ill with severe vomiting, diarrhoea and stomach cramps, which was confirmed as being caused by salmonella poisoning. Kieron was also diagnosed with cryptosporidium.
Kieron’s symptoms were so severe by the time the family returned home that his parents took him to hospital on their return and he was kept in for almost a week for treatment for dehydration.
Mr Knighton, a logistics administrator, said: “We booked the holiday a year in advance so were excited when it came round. It was meant to be a relaxing holiday for the family after I returned from Germany, but the only way I can describe it now is horrendous and distressing for us all.”
The level of damages awarded to each holidaymaker depends on factors including the severity and duration of any illness they suffered and the amount of any financial losses and expenses incurred.
Suki Chhokar, from law firm Irwin Mitchell, which represented those affected, said: “We are delighted for our clients that they have received a fair settlement from the tour operator after enduring such terrible times at the Holiday Village hotel in Turkey.
“Many of our clients suffered illnesses that continued after they returned home and some of our clients have still not made a complete recovery.”
First Choice said that it did not comment on settlement payouts.