Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland holidaymaker tells of guests kept in hotel over Thomas Cook row

A holidaymaker from Co Antrim told yesterday how he witnessed guests being prevented from leaving their hotel in north Africa - because troubled travel operator Thomas Cook had not paid the bill. (Tim Goode/PA)
A holidaymaker from Co Antrim told yesterday how he witnessed guests being prevented from leaving their hotel in north Africa - because troubled travel operator Thomas Cook had not paid the bill. (Tim Goode/PA)

By Staff Reporter

A holidaymaker from Co Antrim told yesterday how he witnessed guests being prevented from leaving their hotel in north Africa - because troubled travel operator Thomas Cook had not paid the bill.

The travel company is at risk of falling into administration unless it finds £200m in extra funds.

It was feared the collapse would leave up to 150,000 UK holidaymakers stranded.

Paul Dunn from Cullybackey is holidaying at the Les Orangers beach resort in Tunisia with his wife Gail.

"We were just coming out of dinner and noticed a wee bit of commotion going around reception - and then found out that some folks from Manchester who were flying home had not been allowed to leave," Mr Dunn told the BBC.

"They locked the gates. Then, a short time after that, stopped our wi-fi. Then about 200 people started to gather.

"Two poor reps from Thomas Cook came in to try and sort it.

"The place was very tense."

"Basically Thomas Cook hadn't paid the hotel, so they were holding the people in because they wanted paid and so they were billing the customers," he added.

"A guy from [Thomas Cook] management did come down and paid them so the Manchester folk were allowed to leave.

"I just want to get home."

Another British holidaymaker said the scene at the beach resort was "like a hostage situation".

He said four security guards were not responding to any pleas from guests to be allowed out.

Yesterday, the Foreign Secretary said holidaymakers will not be left stranded abroad if Thomas Cook collapses.

Dominic Raab assured the firm's worried customers that contingency planning is in place in the event the business cannot be saved.

But Mr Raab told the BBC's Andrew Marr Show yesterday: "We have got all the contingency planning to make sure no one will be stranded.

"I don't want to give all the details of it because it depends on the nature of how people are out there, whether they have got a package holiday or whether they just paid for the flights and sorted out something separately."

He added: "But I can reassure people that in the worst case scenario, the contingency planning is there to avoid people being stranded."

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