This past 2 weeks we have received call after call from holidaymakers who are either intending to go or who are already in the resort of Los Gigantes in Tenerife. What you may ask is causing feathers to ruffle on this Canary Island? One word - 'Norovirus'! When I say 'norovirus' what I mean to say is so-called 'norovirus'. At the risk of repeating myself, I attach the 'so-called' label to norovirus because in the last few ytears when we have been talking about this resort, I have not seen any confirmed diagnosis of 'Norovirus'.
As if to underline that observation, we heard from a holidaymaker last night who tells of one in their group who had visited before having returned with a diagnosis of Salmonella and others within the group having long term gastric illness. At the time when they visited the resort, they were told that the problem was 'Norovirus' - I can assure the reader that they no longer believe in that little ditty!
Last week I called again upon the authorities and tour operators to answer some questions and provide re-assurance.
It seems that they don't want to have a public debate with me - I wonder why?
So far this week, we have had stories from intending holidaymakers and the responses to the concerns they have raised with Travel Companies that range from:
- Yes there was a problem and its been resolved;
- No, there is no problem, we have received no reports of illness;
- Yes there is illness but the holidaymakers have brought this in with them;
- There was a problem but we have a team there making sure everything is OK.
A couple of weeks ago I delivered a presentation to members of ABTA about the work of HolidayTravelWatch and talked about this kind of scenario. Quite simply I said that instead of hiding behind:
- "Normal booking conditions apply",
Travel Companies (and this includes hotels and resorts) had to create a new compact with Consumers in these difficult times, they should:
- Accept the problems and deal with them openly;
- They should respect the 'significant change' rights within the Package Travel Regulations;
- They should not make extra charges against the Consumers, and
- They should do all they can to find alternative holidays for those who do not want to go.
Imagine, if Travel Companies carried out this practice, I wonder how many repeat bookings they would get (my consultancy invoice is in the post chaps)?
However, another side of the tale involves the Consumers!
Many of the holidaymakers who visit the resort of Los Gigantes have done so over many years; this is a testament to the resort itself and it is clearly a very attractive place to go.
It is also clear that holidaymakers are very protective of the resort and the tour companies and yet seem to forget that the pattern in this resort is well established, judging by all the comments we receive and that we can see in Trip Advisor.
I have one message for Consumers; as long as you remain forgiving (I hope you have no misplaced views on so-called 'compensation culture'), the failures you have experienced will continue! If you want to help this resort and go back time and time again, then I am afraid there appears to be only one answer - stand up and be counted - take responsibility - take action now - don't be fobbed off by excuses!