Brits could be banned from going on all-inclusive holidays abroad unless they stop making fake food poisoning claims, tour operators have warned.
Travel bosses have been left ‘embarrassed’ by the huge spike in reports of holiday sickness - described as a ‘British problem’.
Travel trade organisation Abta said tens of thousands of UK holidaymakers have made claims in the last year despite reported sickness levels in resorts staying stable.
Most cases involve all-inclusive hotels, as people making a food poisoning report can claim they only ate at the place they were staying.
Abta has launched a campaign urging the government to close a ‘legal loophole’ which it said is encouraging lawyers to sign up people to insist they were ill even if they were not.
Since spring last year travel firm Tui has recorded around 15 times more illness claims than in previous years.
They are typically worth around £3,000 to £5,000 - which is more than the cost of many of the holidays involved.
In cases where tour operators make a payout, they can attempt to claw the money back from the hotels themselves.
Tui’s managing director Nick Longman told the Press Association that there had been ‘friction’ between hotels and tour operators.
He said: ‘There’s a distinct risk that if this carries on as it is unabated, the hoteliers will say to us either “We don’t want to work with the British market at all” or “We’re not going to offer you all-inclusive”.
‘I think that would be a terrible thing for the British customer. It’s just going to reduce the choice in terms of destinations and the type of holiday.’
Abta chief executive Mark Tanzer said the fraud is ‘one of the biggest issues that has hit the travel industry for many years’.