Thomas Cook halts holidays to Tunisia ‘hostage’ hotel

Thomas Cook halts holidays to Tunisia ‘hostage’ hotel

Thomas Cook halts holidays to Tunisia ‘hostage’ hotel

Security guards at the Les Orangers beach resort near Tunis were keeping the gates shut while hotel staff demanded money over fears they would not be paid, guests said.

Although the gates of the hotel have since been opened, one customer told the BBC they feared they may be closed again when the next group of guests was due to leave.

It was like "being held hostage", said Farmer, who is due to leave Tuesday.

Williams said the hotel had switched the WiFi off and a coach had arrived at 8.20pm to take guests to the airport but the hotel would not permit them to collect passengers.

"They don't say anything, they just stand there holding the gates", he said.

Mr Ryan claimed that a woman in her 80s had been made to pay the hotel "more than 2000 pounds", although she had already paid Thomas Cook for her holiday.

Tunisia's Tourism Ministry on Sunday attributed the incident to a "misunderstanding" and said the tourists had been able to leave on the flight on which were originally booked.

Meanwhile, two empty Eastern Airlines Boeing 767 planes were spotted refuelling in Ireland en route to the United Kingdom as well as a Malaysia A380 bound for Thomas Cook's hub at Manchester Airport.

"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".

A Thomas Cook spokesman told Independent.ie that the situation has been resolved and any customers who had to pay money have been refunded.

The bosses of the world's oldest travel company were still meeting lenders and creditors in London on Sunday to try to thrash out a last-ditch deal to keep the company afloat.

But ministers are unlikely to step in due to worries about the pioneering operator's longer-term viability, the Times reported on Saturday, leaving it on the brink of collapse and stranding up to 150,000 British holidaymakers overseas.

The government and the aviation regulator have drawn up a plan to step in and use other airlines to bring Britons home if needed. "We continue to support customers in all our resorts".

A source close to the negotiations told AFP on Saturday that the company had failed to find the cash from private investors and would collapse unless the government intervened.

Sunday's crisis meeting, first reported by Sky News, is understood to be taking place at City law firm Slaughter & May.

Thomas Cook's financial difficulties also raised questions about the jobs of the 22,000 people employed by the company around the world, including 9,000 in Britain.

Chris Rutherford, from Southampton, who is staying at Les Orangers resort, spoke of a similar experience.

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