Tourists 'held to ransom' by Turkish hotel
A resort in Antalya forced Belgian and French tourists to pay for access to their rooms and food after learning the travel company may have gone bust and cannot settle the bill.
24 November 2008
BRUSSELS – More than 100 Belgian and French tourists, mostly pensioners, are being "held to ransom" by a hotel in Turkey after their Belgian travel company hit financial problems, trip organisers said Sunday.
Management at the resort in Antalya, a city on Turkey's Mediterranean coast, took drastic action on Saturday to secure payment of a EUR 80,000 bill, said tour broker Richard Naujokas.
He told Belgian television his travel company "Voyages a tout coeur" had sold places block-booked by another company Christophair which the TV report said had gone bust.
Half the bill was met by travel company insurance but with the tourists due to leave on Monday the hotel had decided to dig in its heels for the remainder, he said.
Naujokas said members of the party were charged EUR 275 each in order to obtain access to their rooms and food.
"You don't hold people to ransom," Naujokas said on RTL-TVI television. "You can't take it out on clients," he railed. "My clients are being blackmailed. This is wrong," he said.
The website for Christophair - http://www.christophair.be/ - made no mention of financial difficulties on its front page Sunday afternoon.
[AFP / Expatica]