Event Organisers Update November 2017 ISSUE 158

TIME TO STOP THE BLACKMAIL Now our train driver’s unions have won a 30% wage increase for their poverty-stricken members after a year of holding travellers to …

HOLIDAY FRAUDSTERS JAILED A couple from Liverpool are the first to be jailed for making false claims of food poisoning on their holidays. Paul Roberts, 43, and his …

ICELANDIC FAKE A bad time, we see, for Skuli Mogensen, founder and CEO of Icelandic carrier Wow Air. Morgensen’s firm, stupidly, blitzed the press with a silly lie …

VENETIAN SCAM Visitors to Venice have been advised not to trust some of its restaurateurs after a group of three British tourists were charged £154 each for a …

DRAM SHAM A bottle of what was purported to be a very rare single malt whisky has been found to be a fake. The bottle of The Macallan, supposedly dating from 1878 …

RULE BRITANNIA? Hotel group Britannia have been voted the nation’s worst for the fifth year running in the annual consumer survey carried out by Which? magazine …

TIME TO STOP THE BLACKMAIL

Now our train driver’s unions have won a 30% wage increase for their poverty-stricken members after a year of holding travellers to ransom and damaging lives to fill their pockets it will be interesting to see what happens next. Emboldened by the sentiments of J. Corbyn who, completely understandably, says his paymasters should have more power will they now hold more successful strikes for another 30%, or 50%, or 100%?

Of course, our country being members of the EU and beholden to EU law has helped our unions build their power and it is no secret that they are very keen to see this continue.

Which is probably another good reason for anyone who feels that the unions have too much power to back the Brexit. For once we are able to make our own laws again some serious democratic consideration can be given to whether we can all afford to allow the above rot to continue.

Then let joy be unconfined…

HOLIDAY FRAUDSTERS JAILED

A couple from Liverpool are the first to be jailed for making false claims of food poisoning on their holidays.

Paul Roberts, 43, and his partner Deborah Briton,53, sobbed in the dock as they were jailed for fifteen months and nine months respectively for claiming that two consecutive two week holidays to Majorca in 2015 and 2016, staying at the same hotel, had been ruined by severe gastric illness and suffering from “diarrhoea, stomach cramps, lethargy, fever and nausea”. This was despite posting on social media that they had enjoyed “sun, laughter and fun”.

The action was brought by Thomas Cook, who the couple were claiming nearly £20,000 from Holiday sickness claims have increased by 500% – 700% and bogus claims are thought to cost the travel industry £240 million. The frauds are fuelled by touts working for a fee from the solicitors bringing the cases.

ICELANDIC FAKE

A bad time, we see, for Skuli Mogensen, founder and CEO of Icelandic carrier Wow Air.

Morgensen’s firm, stupidly, blitzed the press with a silly lie about a £99 fare from London Stansted to New York, nonsense that was nevertheless picked up and publicised unquestioningly by such quality organs as the Daily Mail, Daily Express, Daily Mirror, the Sun and Hello magazine. Fortunately one sensible journalist, Simon Calder, checked out the scam on behalf of readers of the Independent and its i paper and reported that the £99 fare did not exist, and that the best Mr Morgensen could offer was a one way fare of £170 or a round trip for £251, both entailing first flying to Keflavik airport in Iceland rather than non-stop.

Morgensen’s efforts at misleading, opined Calder, proved the fake news principle that “a fib can travel halfway around the globe while the truth is putting on its boots” So mind who you believe.

VENETIAN SCAM

Visitors to Venice have been advised not to trust some of its restaurateurs after a group of three British tourists were charged £154 each for a lunch that included expensive dishes that they did not order.

Reportedly these extras, charged at the Trattoria Cassonova off St Mark’s Square, included a plate of 20 oysters for £96 and a mixed fried fish dish, including lobster, for £261.50. Sadly university lecturer Luke Tang, who was treating his elderly parents did not send the unordered items back, even after he had got no response from the waiters to a request for the price.

Mr Tang paid the bill and wrote afterwards to Venice mayor Luigi Brugnaro explaining that he felt “blackmailed” by the restaurant, and to warn others to stay away. Brugnaro’s response, to call the tourists “cheapskates” on Venetian television and berating them for not leaving a tip, can only lead to the conclusion that eating in Venice is not a good idea. This is a pity as in the writer’s experience there are some culinary bargains to be had there, though you probably need to avoid the tourist traps around the St Mark’s Square area, and taking any advice from the mayor.

Our best advice? The unordered dishes scam is alive and well in many other places, with a large number of restaurants in the Ile Sacre eating area of Brussels coming top of the Euro rip-off list. However in London, at a newly opened Chinese eaterie in Gerrard Street, the writer was brought an unordered and expensive duck dish, on the basis that the waiter “just thought you would like it” We sent it straight back untouched. Go and do likewise, and let us know if, and where, it happens to you.

DRAM SHAM

A bottle of what was purported to be a very rare single malt whisky has been found to be a fake.

The bottle of The Macallan, supposedly dating from 1878, had been kept unopened at the whisky bar of the Waldhaus Am See hotel in St Moritza, Switzerland for 25 years. Earlier this year Chinese millionaire Zhang Wei paid £7,600 for the bottle to be opened and for a measure to taste, which he did with the hotel’s manager, Sandro Bernasconi.. According to Mr Zhang, 36, he enjoyed both the good taste and the sense of drinking some 139 year old history.

Sadly when experts investigated the bottle they found it was a fake, being a blend of malt and grain whiskies bottled in the 1970’s. Had the bottle been genuine it would have been worth around £227,000, or around £8,000 a measure.

Since the whisky was proved to be a worthless fake Bernasconi flew to China to give Mr Zhang his money back.

RULE BRITANNIA?

Hotel group Britannia have been voted the nation’s worst for the fifth year running in the annual consumer survey carried out by Which? magazine.

The survey was split into large chains of 31 hotels or more worldwide and small/medium chains of 30 or less worldwide and was collated from the views of 4,000 consumers. It gave Britannia two stars out of five in all categories, including bed comfort, cleanliness, customer service and value for money. The group has 61 hotels, with an average charge of £78 per night, and scored 33% in the survey.

Top scorers in the large chains section were Premier Inn (1350 hotels) with 79% while Ibis Budget (53) came second with 71% and McDonald Hotels (132), Radisson Blu (140) and Crowne Plaza (109) coming joint third at 70% The rest of the scores were:- Continue reading

Event Organisers Update October 2017 ISSUE 157

THE AMERICAN RIGHT TO BEAR ARMS KILLS MORE A gunman set himself up in a Las Vegas hotel room with an arsenal of rifles and killed 59 people, and injured more …

SPRINKLERS A MUST? In the wake of the Grenfell tragedy fire experts are warning that too many high-rise buildings, including “city centre hotels with hundreds of beds”…

DEVON HOTELIER JAILED A Devon hotelier has been jailed for 22 weeks, for assaulting members of her staff, and a police officer. Shirley Bothroyd, 59, owner of…

SHAMELESS GREED Following the controversy over the £451,000 package paid to Vice-Chancellor Dame Glynis Bakewell by Bath University Times Higher Education …

TOURIST GHOULS Chinese tourists taking selfies in Kensington, London with the blackened hulk of Grenfell Tower as a backdrop have been condemned as “ghouls” …

CHEAPO CITY BREAKS IN EUROPE Those concerned about the increased cost of staying in Europe while the pound is down might like to know the results of a Daily …

JOURNEY TO THE CENTER OF THE EARTH Adapted from the Jules Verne novel this science fiction classic was first made in 1959 and then remade in 1999 and 2008…

THE AMERICAN RIGHT TO BEAR ARMS KILLS MORE

A gunman set himself up in a Las Vegas hotel room with an arsenal of rifles and killed 59 people, and injured more than 500, who were attending a country music festival below.

In what was America’s worst mass shooting retired accountant Stephen Paddock, 64, with no criminal record, took a room on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort Casino and ended his cowardly and motiveless killing spree by killing himself as SWAT teams cleared the hotel and closed in. It is thought the gun smoke created from the firing of hundreds of rounds of ammunition set off the fire alarm in his room, helping the police to find him. Continue reading

SPRINKLERS A MUST?

In the wake of the Grenfell tragedy fire experts are warning that too many high-rise buildings, including “city centre hotels with hundreds of beds” are not fitted with life-saving sprinkler systems.

These detect a fire, suppress a fire and raise the alarm and there are calls for all buildings more than 30 metres high to be retrofitted with sprinklers. Costs given for a flat are up to £2,500, so for a hotel room would be considerably cheaper. This is against a cost of refurbishment after a fire of £77,000.

If you use high-rise hotels do they have sprinklers?