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Campaigning against false travel sickness claims

Updated: Apr 10, 2018

Travel Weekly launched a Fight Fake Claims campaign in 2017 to galvanise industry support for action to address one of the most serious issues facing the travel sector. It says the recent rise in gastric illness claims constitutes a mass fraud on the travel industry driven by aggressive and unscrupulous claims management companies. Over the past two years, the number of UK claims has shot up on average 500%, according to Abta, while the UK’s biggest holiday provider, Tui, reports its claims are up an astonishing 1,400%. Some travel firms report they now have to employ more legal staff to handle these claims than they have sales people.

And yet this rise in the number of claims does not reflect actual levels of sickness experienced by UK holidaymakers: UK operators report no decline in customer satisfaction scores and there has been no equivalent rise in sickness claims among holidaymakers from other European countries staying in the same hotels.

The campaign calls for… 

  • The closure of the legal fees loophole that is allowing lawyers and claims management firms to profit from soliciting false and exaggerated claims.

  • New legislation that puts compensation claims for gastric illness suffered while on an overseas holiday on a par with other personal injury claims.

  • A coordinated and determined approach from the travel industry, trade associations and hotel partners to challenge false claims and prosecute the fraudsters who make them.

  • Size of the problem

Short-haul European beach destinations have been specifically, although not exclusively, targeted as these tend to offer traditional tour operator packages, including increasing volumes of all-inclusive and therefore greater levels of customer protection and responsibility for the product. Majorca alone is said to have had €50 million worth of claims made against its hotels, which has led to some Spanish hoteliers considering stopping selling to UK consumers or passing on costs in higher prices.


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