Watchdog complaints about Holiday Village Red Sea “just the tip of the iceberg”


Watchdog has received more than 70 complaints from guests staying at the Holiday Village Red Sea in Sharm El Sheikh.

Egypt Red Sea Holiday Village Illness

However Simpson Millar’s head of travel Nick Harris – who appeared on episode one of the new BBC Watchdog series on Wednesday (12/09/12) – pointed out that this was just the tip of the iceberg.

Holiday Village resorts are used by First Choice and Simpson Millar has been dealing with literally hundreds of complaints from holidaymakers over the last five years.

Nick Harris told the programme:

“I would estimate that we have spoken to more than three to four hundred people who have contacted us in relation to this particular resort.”

First Choice Holiday Villages are located in a range of popular destinations such as Turkey and Lanzarote.

Holidaymakers staying at the Holiday Village Red Sea told Watchdog that violent symptoms of food poisoning started within three days of arrival and spread rapidly through families, including to young children.

Vomit and human faeces had to be removed from the Holiday Village Red Sea swimming pools as holidaymakers struggled to control their symptoms – and one family spoke of how guests staying in July nicknamed the Red Sea complex the Horror Village.

Online travel forum posts from holidaymakers have already highlighted issues at the hotel, such as dirty swimming pools and water containing human sewage being used to water gardens.

Watchdog reporters filming undercover were met by a stench at the entrance gate and in the gardens, which smelled like blocked sewers.

They also witnessed the main swimming pool being closed and treated with chemicals after a child allegedly soiled it, according to a pool attendant. The pool was re-opened 20 minutes’ later, before the chemicals would have had time to work, said environmental health expert Professor Lisa Ackerley, who was also featured on the programme with Simpson Millar’s head of travel, Nick Harris.

Prof Ackerley also pointed out that the chlorine might have caused chemical burns if it had not dispersed properly in the water before bathers were allowed back into the pool.

Holidaymakers who reported their symptoms to the First Choice rep were advised that they had contracted stomach illnesses as result of the change in temperature, which they were not used to – and the during secret filming the First Choice representative denied that there was a problem at the hotel, which has its own clinic and doctors on site.

However, one holidaymaker who had stayed at the Holiday Village Red Sea with her husband and children to celebrate their wedding anniversary said that the family quickly fell ill with sickness and diarrhoea – and another family of four who flew out to join them also contracted the illness.

“All eight of us were poorly, three of which required attention by way of a drip from the doctor – six were on medication,” said Lisa Elkins.

“You don’t work and book yourself a holiday to go through what we then went through and I don’t want anyone telling me it was the norm – it wasn’t the norm,” she told Watchdog.

Nick Harris and his team of travel claims solicitors at Simpson Millar have handled hundreds of cases involving First Choice and holidaymakers who have fallen ill with food poisoning abroad.

If you have experienced holiday illness in the last three years and would like free initial advice, contact our team free of charge using our Freephone number or online enquiry form. Simpson Millar accepts holiday claims on a 'No Win No Fee' basis and our clients keep 100% of any compensation won.

The Watchdog episode featuring Simpson Millar’s Nick Harris and the Holiday Village Red Sea is available on BBC iPlayer.

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