Saturday 24 June 2017

Lesbians' honeymoon hell due to 'gay-friendly' tour firm

Gemma Harman, right, and Tamsin Harper claim Thompson Holidays discriminated against them
Gemma Harman, right, and Tamsin Harper claim Thompson Holidays discriminated against them

Amy Murphy in London

A lesbian couple who described their honeymoon as the "worst two weeks" they had ever spent are claiming they were discriminated against by a leading holiday company.

Gemma Harman (24) and Tamsin Harper (36) from Brighouse, West Yorkshire, went to the Dominican Republic with Thomson after their civil partnership earlier this year.

But they claim the company refused to acknowledge their holiday as a honeymoon and say they did not receive the special treatment offered to other honeymooners because they were a same-sex couple.

Ms Harman said the couple were treated in a "homophobic manner".

The newlyweds claimed that other couples they spoke to were treated "like VIPs", being offered special romantic meals at the hotel and having bottles of rum and fruit put in their room, but they received nothing.

When they tried to book a meal, it was never arranged and when they tried to complain, staff were "dismissive".

"They just did not treat us the same as everybody else," Ms Harman said.

"It's, quite frankly, disgusting in this day and age and I find it ridiculous that people who work for a company that is supposedly gay-friendly can be so rude."

She added: "It was highly disappointing, there was just nothing that made it special, it was possibly the worst two weeks I've spent ever."

The couple, along with 60 other people, were also moved to a different hotel after a week, due to not enough guests staying in their original accommodation, and they had problems with excursions.

Service

A spokesman for Thomson said the couple had been let down by the company for the poor customer service received and said they had been offered compensation.

But he said the problems they encountered were nothing to do with their sexuality and were the result of a "communication breakdown".

The spokesman said: "Unfortunately we let them down but we let them down as customers."

He added: "We got the customer service wrong and they are wrong to believe it was anything to do with them personally.

"The holiday didn't live up to their expectations and it didn't live up to our standards. But it could have happened to anyone."

He said Thomson had "thousands" of gay customers going on holiday with them every year and employed gay staff members.

"We are a totally diverse business," he said.

Thomson Holidays also later issued a statement apologising for any distress caused on the honeymoon but said any issues were not because of the couple's sexuality.

Irish Independent

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