Egyptian holiday from hell for Manchester family


A family from Manchester were struck down with illness on holiday and now their tour operator is refusing to take responsibility. John Griffin, 41 and his partner Anne, 44 from Swinton travelled to the Holiday Village Red Sea in Egypt with their son Luke, 10 and daughter Siobhan, 9 in July 2010.

Their two week holiday was not the relaxing break they intended as one by one each of them were sick with food poisoning. Symptoms included stomach cramps, diarrhoea, fever and vomiting and John and Anne were particularly ill.

Ill at Holiday Village Red Sea in Egypt – image

John said:

"We were so weak from the sickness that we were shaking and found it hard to even keep water down. It was ridiculous and we were exhausted from it all. "

"The ironic thing is that you go away to rest and instead we ended up more stressed and rundown than we had been before the trip."

"We were given antibiotics at the local pharmacy but by the time we had recovered we had missed all our excursions we had planned. This was particularly disappointing as we had been looking forward to the holiday for months. "

"There was always a great deal of people discussing their ailments whenever we went down to the restaurant or bar areas. It appeared that we were in the majority as everyone we spoke to had been poorly at one point during their stay."

"We noticed that the pool was closed frequently throughout our stay."

The food served at mealtimes was hit and miss, with the majority of the offering described as 'lukewarm' by the Griffin family. "The hot plates were 'heated' by small candle burners, hardly generating enough heat to maintain a sensible temperature," said John, "We lost our appetites completely."

Bad reviews have haunted the all-inclusive resort since it opened in July 2007. Billed by First Choice as 'providing the whole holiday experience', complaints about the resort appeared almost immediately after the opening because it was said to be unfinished. Food poisoning and hygiene complaints have been commonplace ever since.

Nick Harris is Head of Holiday and Travel Law at Simpson Millar Solicitors in Manchester. He said:

"We have received an astounding number of complaints about the Holiday Village Red Sea since the beginning of the 2010 season. Over 120 holiday makers have come to us for help after returning with extremely serious bacterial infections such as Cryptosporidium, E-coli and Shigella, as well as very severe cases of Salmonella."

"Despite the flood of complaints, First Choice continues to allow its customers to travel there. The resort requires a serious overhaul to health, safety and hygiene standards before welcoming any more holiday makers."

"Anyone suffering the aftermath of a Holiday Village stay should come forward and claim the compensation they deserve. Families have spent thousands of pounds for their summer holidays to be ruined with sickness. There is strength in numbers and at some point First Choice will have to acknowledge the seriousness of this situation."

John added:

"Thankfully none of us required hospital treatment, but for weeks after the holiday we all struggled with mealtimes and our stomachs remained very sensitive; eating made us feel nauseous and it was a long while before we were back to normal."

"What annoys me is that during the welcome meeting we were informed there was a bug going around – why weren’t we notified before we left for the holiday? First Choice are aware of it and what makes it even more insulting as it was dismissed as simply a ‘dodgy belly’ due to a change in climate or different food. "

“If you complained you were herded up to the local pharmacy, which was costly ad not something you account for when you venture on an all inclusive holiday."

"We saved hard and had looked forward to our holiday all year. This was our first visit to Egypt after being persuaded at the travel agents to give it a try. Unfortunately due to our experience it will probably be our last."

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