A holidaymaker left a bad review of a hotel on Tripadvisor, leading to his arrest.
US citizen Wesley Barnes left a series of harsh reviews of the Sea View Resort in Thailand via Tripadvisor, but the hotel then pursued legal action against Mr Barnes.
It resulted in him being detained and charged under the country’s strict defamation laws.
He faced a two-year prison sentence and was released only after issuing a public apology.
Mr Barnes accused the resort of ‘modern-day slavery’. The hotel said the harsh criticism was untrue and damaging to its reputation.
The incident occurred at the resort on the island of Koh Chang earlier this year, and was triggered by an argument over Mr Barnes wanting to bring his own bottle into the hotel’s restaurant.
The hotel said he refused to pay a corkage fee and ’caused a commotion’.
After leaving, he left a negative review after which the hotel sued him for defamation. He subsequently was detained and spent two nights in prison before being released on bail.
He was found guilty of breaking the country’s notorious anti-defamation laws. The hotel said the reviews were ‘fabricated, recurrent and malicious’.
Now, Tripadvisor has left a warning on the hotel’s page urging travellers to be mindful of the local laws in the country, the MEN reports.
The warning reads: “This hotel or individuals associated with this hotel filed criminal charges against a TripAdvisor user in relation to the traveller writing and posting online reviews. The reviewer spent time in jail as a result.
“The hotel may have been exercising its legal rights under local law, however, it is our role to inform you so you may take this into consideration when researching your travel plans.”
Tripadvisor added that they believe in ‘the right of every traveller to write about their first-hand travelling experiences – good or bad’.
The travel site said: “TripAdvisor strongly opposes any action where a business, like the Sea View Hotel & Spa in Koh Chang, uses local law to send someone to jail for expressing their opinion.”
The hotel has hit back at the review site, telling the New York Times they were ‘deeply disappointed’, adding that ‘the warning message from TripAdvisor is extremely misleading and lacks complete information’.
The hotel claims they initially tried to contact Mr Barnes to remove the reviews, but he didn’t respond, and they filed the complaint as the negative comments led to them losing bookings.
After he was arrested and spent two days in jail the case was eventually dropped, as Mr Barnes admitted the reviews were ‘fabricated, recurrent, and malicious’ and gave a full public apology – as per the terms of the settlement between the two parties.
Spain’s new tourism plan will let Brits holiday without restrictions in a matter of months
Spain has revealed when it will be reopening to British holidaymakers with restriction-free travel.
In a bid to boost tourism and welcome tourists back to Spain the country has launched a campaign that should reassure travellers it’s safe to visit.
Currently, Spain remains off the UK travel corridor list meaning arrivals from the country will have to self-isolate on entry to Britain (excluding the Canary Islands).
Visitors must present a negative Covid-19 test no more than 72 hours on arrival to enter the country.
The latest €2 million campaign hopes to welcome visitors without restrictions by the end of March, reports the MEN.
There will be a daily updated ‘Travel Safe’ section on the spain.info website which will have measures in individual regions including, for example, restaurant capacities.
The Turespaña strategy will continue while coronavirus restrictions remain, already welcome in popular destinations including Menorca and Ibiza.
The Balearic Islands are expected to be the first to welcome restriction-free travel. The Balearic tourism minister, Iago Negueruela, told local media: “First of all, however, there is the task of positioning, selling and explaining to the world that the islands are a safe destination.”
See the Covid-19 measures in Spain here.
Manchester Airport opens brand new Covid-19 testing facility for passengers
It’s set to make travel easier.
Manchester Airport has launched a new Covid-19 testing facility today, as part of a move by its parent company the Manchester Airports Group (MAG) in partnership with travel medical provider Collinson.
This means the full range of tests – RT-PCR, RT-LAMP, Rapid Antigen and Antibody – will be available to all passengers in a brand new facility just outside of the main terminal building.
MAG has also become the first operator to give passengers the chance to book discounted pre-flight testing appointments on the high street, at selected Boots stores in the UK.
The news means passengers using Manchester, London Stansted and East Midlands Airports will be given maximum flexibility when planning their trips, and comes in the week that the UK Government lifts England’s international travel ban.
Certain governments currently allow pre-departure tests in order to shorten or completely alleviate quarantine requirements in the destination country, while others require them in order to gain entry.
Passengers will also now be able to book any tests they need to shorten their self-isolation period upon return under the UK Government’s ‘Test to Release’ scheme.
The scheme, announced last week, will launch on December 15th and allows travellers arriving from higher risk countries to reduce their period of quarantine by taking a test five days after they arrive in the UK.
‘Test to Release’ follows in the footsteps of a number of countries who are already offering quarantine-free inbound travel to those able to provide evidence of a negative test.
Boots offers an in-store RT-PCR Covid-19 testing service – which returns results within 48 hours – from more than 50 stores across the UK, specifically for customers who do not suspect they have Covid-19.
MAG passengers will be able to access a 5% discount, which customers can access through the airport’s website.
Airport testing prices through Collinson start at £40 for Antibody tests, £50 for Antigen tests, £79 for RT-LAMP tests and £99 for RT-PCR tests.
Managing Director of Manchester Airport, Karen Smart, said: “As the UK emerges from a ban on international travel, we know our passengers are keen to start flying again, but that many of Manchester Airport’s most popular destinations, such as the Canary Islands, require a negative test before you arrive.
“This new facility will make the process of showing you’re infection-free when planning and booking a holiday as easy and cost-effective as possible in the current circumstances. Our new booking platform makes it easy to select the right test for your destination, and at the location that is most convenient for you.
“Located right by the terminal building means passengers can either opt for a test on the day of departure before they go through security, or visit in the run up to their journey at a time to suit them.
“This also means Manchester is perfectly placed to support the introduction of a UK arrivals testing regime, which will enable travellers to reduce the length of time they need to self-isolate if they test negative after five days.
“This is the latest example of MAG leading the way as we look to work with Government and the rest of our industry to get Britain flying again.”
You can get return flights to NYC for as little as £280 this Black Friday
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Virgin Atlantic has launched an epic Black Friday sale with return flights to NYC for as little as £280.
New York isn’t the only destination on the list of cheap flights either! There’s also deals on flights to Vegas, San Francisco and Orlando!
Return flights from London to New York in January and February next year start at just £280 per person. Flights in April from Manchester will set you back just £288.
In April you can fly to LA for £321, a round trip to San Francisco will set you back £324 and Vegas and Orlando are £326.
There’s also deals to be had on some winter sun with discounts on flights to the Caribbean in January and March. You can fly to Barbados from £345, or Jamaica from £395.
The airline has handily separated their deals into sections including Winter Sun, Easter Getaways, Visit Friends & Relatives, West Coast USA, East Coast USA, Caribbean, Premium, Upper Class and Our Best Prices.
You will need to check the current restrictions to flying as well as any quarantine restrictions that might be in place at the end of travel!
Virgin Atlantic is offering a free Covid-19 cover worth £500,000 which gives you flexible booking, enhanced hygiene measures, free amenity kits including mask and hand sanitisers plus other perks.