Thomas Cook cuts ties with hotel where guests were ‘held hostage’ in payment row

Thomas Cook has stopped sending tourists to a Tunisia hotel which demanded money from guests in what one Briton described as "like a hostage situation".

Guests at the Les Orangers beach resort in the town of Hammamet, near Tunis, said security guards kept the gates shut while staff demanded visitors pay extra money, out of fear the tour operator would not honour its bookings.

Brits were furious as they demanded to be let inside and others broke into tears.

Responding to customers' complaints on Twitter on Sunday, Thomas Cook said: "A small number of customers were asked to pay for their hotel room before leaving Les Orangers in Tunisia yesterday, we have refunded those customers who paid on their credit cards.

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"Anyone due to stay at this hotel will be offered an alternative hotel in Hammamet."

The firm told another customer: "Thomas Cook will not be sending any new arrivals to Les Orangers and anyone due to stay at this hotel will be offered an alternative hotel in Hammamet on arrival. We continue to support customers in all our resorts."

Ryan Farmer, from Leicestershire, said the hotel had on Saturday afternoon summoned all guests who were due to leave to go to reception, "to pay additional fees, obviously because of the situation with Thomas Cook".

With many tourists defying the demand, since they had already paid the embattled travel company, security guards were keeping the hotel's gates shut, refusing to allow guests out, or let new visitors enter.

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