Monday 19 February 2018

Waterpark advert 'was misleading'

First Choice has been warned not to suggest facilities are already in operation if they are not
First Choice has been warned not to suggest facilities are already in operation if they are not

A tourist has had a complaint about a hotel advert upheld - after the Egyptian uprising meant a promised waterpark was not completed in time for her holiday.

First Choice has been warned by advertising watchdogs not to suggest in future that facilities were already in operation if they are not.

The holiday company's website, when seen in January, included an entry for the Tropicana Sea Beach Splash Resort in Sharm el Sheikh, which was subsequently booked by the complainant. However, when she arrived she found the waterpark had not been finished and complained to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA).

The advert had read: "How do you go about improving on a hotel that's already got huge bedrooms with air-con and satellite TVs? How do you get better than being seconds from the beach? Answer - you build a waterpark next door and then give guests unlimited access to it. It's exactly what they've done at the Tropicana Sea Beach."

The website boasted of "all sorts of slides and chutes", telling holidaymakers to "get ready for speed and bowl slides, a twister, black hole and the fearsome Sting Ray".

The ASA said that First Choice told them it was originally planned that the waterpark would be complete by summer 2011.

The holiday company said the advert was correct at the time it went on their website, but that "it had been unforeseeable, however, that civil unrest in Egypt early in the year would delay delivery of building supplies and the construction work".

First Choice also said that the Abta code of conduct required them to continue with a customer's holiday, cancel and refund it, or transfer it, and that they would have offered the complainant those options. They also later warned on their website that the waterpark was not going to be available when first thought because of delayed construction.

However, the ASA upheld the complaint, and has told First Choice not to run it in its current form again.

Press Association

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