We have heard of one hotel in Egypt where the range of holiday complaints are diverse and this leads me to think that the Egyptian Tourist Authorities have still not got this right! I had asked previously as to whether Egypt was the new Dominican Republic for Holiday Illness - I had hoped that 2009 would prove that this was not the case! Regular readers will know that we have highlighted the manner in which holiday complaints were being 'handled', either by the travel industry or by hoteliers, raising the concern that holidaymakers were in fact being bullied away from making complaints!
The latest story in this sequence involves a couple of holidaymaker's who quite correctly, raised a number of 'contractual' quality complaints, not least of which was their illness. We are told that a large number of British holidaymakers at this hotel were also concerned as to the standards, with many also complaining that they were ill. It is the reaction to their genuine and legitimate complaints that causes me concern; consider the problem in their own words,
"i went to see the hotel's docter and when going into his "office" there where 5 men and a telly on full blast,then he asked to examine me to which unsurprisingly i declined,and went to my room in floods of tears,there customer services guy ran after me and tried to get me to drink ouzo and hot water i have since spoke to my docter who sayed that would make me worse,after i kicked up a fuss and cried alot due to feeling so ill,he sent carrots and potatoes to my room which my docter said would also make me worse!!! alot of people where falling ill,and i stood up and said that it wasnt right and asked other holiday makers and around 1 little pool had 44 names of people who where sick,after which myself and my friend where marched to a little room in the back of the hotel and interagated and shouted at and belittled and threatend with eviction from the hotel if we didnt shut our mouths to others about being sick,forced us to hand over our list and taken back to the pool where a security guard stood behind us the whole time and a customer service was sent to babysit us and make sure we didnt speak to anyone!!!! thankfully i wasnt as ill as alot of others who where in there room on drips!! after this happend we were treated awfull by staff and intimadated!!!
4. health and safety in this hotel is non-exsistant,pool ladders where rusty with spikes coming off the step that wasnt there..."
"It took us 20 minutes and we had 44 names which there was a very sick baby who was 9 months old, a lady in her 70s on a drip. The doctor said the more people we bring him the more commission would get. People were starting to get very worried as people of all ages were getting it and the hotel new it was a gastric bug!!! We made the list then we had a tap on the shoulder and was told the hotel manger wants to see us both right away. As we walked everyone was looking,we was put in this tiny little room,security,[NAMES] "they call" walked in, we thought "god have we killed someone".He then started shouting at us "how dare we asked people if they were sick". He in interrogated us and made us cry, that's how mad he got,then he got our rep on the phone to which we was told by him "if you both don't shut up your out on the streets and that's it"so we walked away, we had to keep quiet about this guy,we got back to our sun loungers then we was told by [NAME] the girl in [HOTEL DEPARTMENT] we was not allowed to talk to anyone about this so she had to sit and babysit us all day with a security guard.The whole pool side was looking at us,we was going through hell by now,my friend had to go back to the room, the security guard walked with her to her room and back again,we could not believe this was happening to us! What had we done so wrong we just wanted to know the truth, how many people were sick.We was told we couldn't speak to anyone so we just got on with it, just had hope that we was going home in a few days but it was unbearable as the staff started being really nasty to us, saying "you never come back to this hotel",pointing at us were ever we went,we just stayed in our room as we couldn't cope anymore plus we was told we was not allowed in the resteraunts Its very hard putting this in an email but so much happened".
So, there we have it, the 'cure' to holiday complaints and illness is not to correct the failures and live up holidaymakers contractual expectations, but to control the situation through harrassment! What is concerning in this case is the fact that the rep was clearly made aware of this situation but did nothing! It appears that she did nothing to protect the holidaymaker's in question and can we assume that she did nothing to protect other holidaymakers? In addition, did this rep report this to head office, and if so, has this tour operator acted in the interests of their clients?
To all holidaymakers, I would say that the gathering of details from other holidaymakers and obtaining photographic evidence is a legal activity - I can see no term or condition in any holiday contract that stops you from doing this! In addition, I am not aware of anything within the Egyptian Jurisdiction, nor any other Jurisdiction, that stops you from gathering such evidence, so long as you do so legally and with respect, after all, how do the citizens of those countries gather their own evidence when they have legal complaints? Surely this is a basic human and contractual right?
If I am wrong, I challenge the Travel Industry and the Egyptian Authorities to correct my error of understanding!
As they say in legal circles, 'res ipsa loquitor' - the facts speak for themselves! The danger with this kind of behaviour is that one day someone is going to get seriously hurt or they will die from these 'so-called' holiday illnesses - all for the want of responsible corporate behaviour! So at the start of the holiday season, will the Egyptian Tourist Authorities take steps to stamp out this excessive behaviour and police the standards in Egyptian hotels? We shall wait and see!