A Portadown couple were told to ‘pay up or get out’ of a Spanish hotel after their travel firm, Thomas Cook, went bust.
Winston and Margaret Pearson were in the Hotel Las Vegas in Salou when news came that holiday giant Thomas Cook had gone into administration.
The couple were unaware of the situation as they had been at the beach, but when they arrived back to their hotel, they were in for a shock.
Margaret said: “When we came from the beach yesterday (Tuesday) our rooms were locked.
“We went to reception to find out what was wrong and we were told that Thomas Cook had stopped trading and we had to pay £284 or leave the hotel. So it was pay or go. As all the passports and clothes were in the room and we had nowhere to go, the hotel told us our room would not be opened unless we paid.
“So we had to pay. We had no place to go.”
Margaret said that after many phone calls ATOL said it will pay, “We are to go home on Friday morning but I have had no news so we don’t know what is going to happen.”
The couple had booked their holiday in Terra Travel and were full of praise for the Co Armagh firm. “They are so good and have phoned us twice while we are staying here in Las Vegas Hotel.”
“We phoned Terra Travel and they told us not to pay as we were covered. There were six of us in the hotel who had to pay.
“They said we would get it back,” said Margaret.
“It was so degrading for us. We felt sorry for office staff,” she said.
Margaret revealed that the hotel in Salou claimed that Thomas Cook hadn’t paid for all their holiday and the hotel needed to balance their books.
“Everyone tried to help but we had to pay or get out,” said the Portadown woman.
“I want to say thanks to all who helped us,” said Margaret.
The Portadown store was one of several to shut its doors leaving dozens of staff out of a job.
However, local firm Clubworld reached out to offer jobs to former staff.
Claire Mulligan, General Manager of Clubworld said everyone was ‘devastated’ at the news Thomas Cook was in administration.
“We are a small community in the travel world in Northern Ireland and it is just devastating news for all their staff,” said Claire.
And she revealed Clubworld have a number of vacancies in all of their seven stores throughout NI and two managerial positions also.
She has invited former staff at Thomas Cook to apply for the posts. “The whole thing is just awful. We all have mortgages and bills to pay. We just hope we can help some of the staff get a new job.”
Claire added: “As much we are competitors, we are like a big family and are always helping each other out.”