When Goldtrail, a Turkey and Greece tour operator, went into bankruptcy on Friday afternoon, July 16, 2010, suddenly 16,000 Britons abroad found themselves stranded while on holiday. An additional 2,000 hopeful holidaymakers, scheduled to fly from the UK this weekend, were left with nothing but empty vacation plans.
Stories have begun to emerge of holidaymakers being forced to pay for their holiday accommodation despite being protected by compensation schemes run by the CAA and ABTA – The Travel Association.
Staff at apartments in Marmaris, Turkey, are reported to be not accepting promises from ABTA or the CAA due to payment delays when Scottravel went bust last year and XL the year before that.
Kenny Ogilvie, 53, a publican from Ayrshire, in Scotland, said: “It all got a bit heated and nasty.
“There’s no reps from Goldtrail, and there’s only one girl in reception [who] can speak English.
“They were demanding we pay up and were refusing to give back our passports unless we did. One poor chap had to pay 300lira (£127) just to get his passport back.”
Another holidaymaker, Suzanne Bithell, said she and her boyfriend had to run away from their hotel in Turkey after their holiday rep demanded they pay again for their accommodation.
“I told him, ‘We have already paid! We paid before we came!,’ but he said, ‘No; the hotel did not get that money – Goldtrail has gone bust. You have to pay the hotel. Give me your credit card details.’ The atmosphere was getting very tense.”
Carleen Rowe, from Battersea, in London, said: “I arrived in Marmaris at four o’clock on Saturday morning with my eight-year-old daughter.
“I paid £500 for my flight and accommodation, but the hotel said they had no room for me, and they had no record of our booking. We booked via Goldtrail.
“My daughter and I have been sitting outside with our suitcases in the baking heat, with no room. The hotel is fully booked. I have no idea how we will get home.”
A spokesman for the Civil Aviation Authority said he expected the vast majority of people to have flown home “by the close of play today.”