Travel Travellers 'encouraged' to fake illness

10:20  09 january  2018
10:20  09 january  2018 Source:   bbc.com

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Millions of Britons are being encouraged to say they were sick while on holiday, according to the Association of British Travel Agents. A poll carried out for ABTA suggests that 19% of all holidaymakers may have been approached by a claims management company on their return home.

Millions of Britons are being encouraged to say they were sick while on holiday, according to the Association of British Travel Agents. A poll carried out for ABTA suggests that 19% of all holidaymakers may have been approached by a claims management company on their return home.

tourists on beach© Getty Images tourists on beach

Millions of Britons are being encouraged to say they were sick while on holiday, according to the Association of British Travel Agents.

A poll carried out for ABTA suggests that 19% of all holidaymakers may have been approached by a claims management company on their return home.

They are told that there is money waiting for them if they file a claim.

On average, successful claimants get payouts of just over £2,000 each.

As many as nine million Britons have been approached to make such sickness claims, the poll suggests.

  • Plans to limit holiday sickness claims
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In 2016 the travel industry spent more than £240m fighting claims, making all holiday packages more expensive.

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Travellers being encouraged to fake illness , says ABTA.

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The government has already announced plans to discourage such activity, but ABTA says any new rules need to be in place before the 2018 holiday season.

Since 2013 the industry has reported a 500% rise in reports of sickness while customers are away, even though the hotels involved say the number of cases has remained static.

The rise in claims also appears to be confined to holidaymakers who come from the UK.

Stricter controls

woman sunbathing on beach: Some holidaymakers are told to claim they got food poisoning on holiday© Getty Images Some holidaymakers are told to claim they got food poisoning on holiday

The poll suggests that few people know such claims can end with a prison sentence.

Under existing law, those who commit such fraud can face a sentence of up to three years.

In October last year, a couple from Merseyside were jailed after pretending to be sick on holiday.

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Travellers being encouraged to fake illness . Thomas Cook wins fake holiday sickness case. In turn, this is said to have prompted claims management companies to encourage tourists to seek holiday sickness compensation.

And last week a Derbyshire couple pleaded guilty to fraud after claiming a trip to Turkey was ruined by diarrhoea and vomiting.

"Unscrupulous claims management companies are encouraging people to make a false sickness claim which could land them with a large fine or even a prison sentence," said Mark Tanzer, ABTA's chief executive.

The government announced a crackdown on false claims last July, and has since been carrying out a consultation.

The Ministry of Justice is planning to introduce fixed legal costs for firms defending themselves, making the costs of claims more predictable.

The payouts themselves will also be subject to stricter controls.

It has been said that claims management companies are looking for new areas of business, following a decline in the number of PPI claims being filed.

All about travel parasites and their problems .
In my work as a travel and tropical medicine specialist, this is one of my busier times of year as large numbers of people return from March Break vacations to warm, sunny places.In the winter, I see a lot of people coming home from holidays in the Caribbean. In the summer, my colleagues and I see more people who have visited places like India, Africa, South America or Southeast Asia. It’s not uncommon for people to pick up a parasite while travelling in these parts of the world.When it comes to travel-related illness, the most common is travellers’ diarrhea. It is acquired mostly via contaminated food or water.

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