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Group takes up fight against Sharm ban

MORE THAN 30 travel businesses met with the UK government this week in a bid to highlight how devastating the ban on UK flights to Sharm el Sheikh has been to them. The group, which comprised airlines, tour operators, hoteliers and Nile cruise companies, has created the Travel Industry Egypt Advisory Group, which is working in partnership with the Egyptian Tourist Office in London. In a statement the body of

companies including Tui, Monarch, Saga Holidays, Discover Egypt and Cox & Kings, among others, said it had met with the all-party parliamentary group on Egypt in the House of Commons and House of Lords to “seek support for a swift government decision”. One operator said he was now

selling as much in one year as he used to sell in a week to the destination, and there was frustration that British businesses were being “penalised” in comparison with German and other European operators, which have been allowed to fly back into Sharm. The group said if a decision on the

flight ban was not taken in the next two weeks, a number of airlines would miss the opportunity to return to Sharm for winter 2016-17. The delegation added that there

was confusion over whether the public could still travel to Egypt, and if so where they could go, as well as concern caused by the uncertainty as to when the ban would be lifted, with airlines having to plan their schedules at least four months before departure. Sir Gerald Howarth, MP and chair

of the all-party parliamentary group on Egypt, is reported to have “commented on the large contingent attending the meeting”, stating that “this was clearly a sign of the pressure facing the travel industry”. He urged travel companies to speak

up about the impact the ban was having on their businesses and to write to their local MPs, communicating what needs to be done.

Spain hits back against Brits’ £60m sick claims

Gary Noakes

SPANISH HOTELIERS have vowed to fight compensation demands for bogus illnesses claims, as they revealed that cases from British holidaymakers this year now total more than €60 million. Hoteliers from Benidorm, the

Costa Blanca and Valencia regions issued a statement last week citing a “huge increase” in claims for alleged ailments this summer “for which there is often no evidence”. They added that the UK was “unique” in pursuing claims in this manner. The hoteliers’ association Hosbec

has decided to take a stand against suspected fraudulent claims, which they feel comprise most cases. Hosbec has laid the blame at the

UK’s “compensation claims industry”, arguing that specialist claims management firms, which once focused on vehicle accident injury and PPI claims, “are now increasingly targeting holidaymakers with aggressive marketing campaigns to encourage the filing of thousands of unfounded complaints”. According to Hosbec, some claims

companies “are even dressing up as tour operators at hotels to reel in customers”, while others are using

resort-based salespeople. The move comes just weeks after

TTGrevealed that Abta was planning to meet with the Ministry of Justice to discuss the worrying rise in “ambulance chasing” holiday illness claims made against agents and operators. The association has warned that the Spanish industry cannot afford these claims and that they will impact the cost of holidays. Hosbec general secretary Nuria

Montes said: “We feel the British complaints procedure which allows claims to be processed when there is no evidence of truth creates a grossly unfair and disproportionate system. “It unreasonably inflates the cost

for the hotelier by adding fat profits for lawyer firms who bill for 90% of the total amount of the claim, while only 10% of the amount is allocated to offsetting the alleged damages to the tourist. This system is contrary to the Spanish one, whereby the claimant must prove the accuracy of the claim.” Hosbec members are implementing

Claims by UK holidaymakers are becoming unaffordable TRAVEL EVENT

Ex-agent’s new trade awards

A FORMER South Shields travel agent has organised the travel industry’s newest awards night, The Grafters, which will take place in Newcastle next month in partnership with TTG Media. Darren Phillips, now a rep with

Sun Hotels, has almost sold out the inaugural event at the Hilton Newcastle, which will see operators vote for agents and agents decide which suppliers should be recognised.

Phillips said he had initially planned an event for 100, but following high demand he obtained a bigger venue and has already sold 275 tickets. “I then thought maybe 300, but

the venue can push it to 330, so I have another five or six tables to

“short-term” measures, which include tracing when and where guests dined and what they ate and drank.

sell,” he said. The event is being sponsored by Jet2holidays and DFDS Seaways. Phillips began organising the

night after feedback from the local trade showed support for an awards event in the north-east. He also organises the Geordie

Ball, but said The Grafters would be different, focusing on dinner, the awards and a disco. Phillips added that there would

also be some “tongue in cheek” awards during the evening, in addition to normal accolades.

Sun Hotels’ Darren Phillips

■Tables for 10 are £695. To book contact

27.10.2016 07

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