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Over 40 brides and grooms-to-be have been left heartbroken after their destination weddings have been cancelled because holiday provider TUI has lost a hotel contract. Emily Dabinett-Jones and Danielle Connor are two customers who have spent £5,000 to £10,000 on their Greek weddings next year, only to learn the original venue has been removed from TUI’s website, and they are left in limbo, waiting to be told where their wedding is going to be, and if it’s still going ahead.
Having been unable to find the venue on the company’s official website, Emily contacted TUI but got no response, so contacted the Atlantica Holiday Village on the Greek island of Kos instead. She was told they were in negotiations with the company after its contract ran out.
Emily then “emailed the wedding planner” and was told she would have a response by the “end of November”.
By December, she called them again, and was told she would be informed of what is going on before Christmas, “but that didn’t happen either”. Emily explained “other brides have been told January 5” is the earliest date for an update.
Emily, 23, who has been dating fiancé Oliver Hughes, 24, since school said they are “devastated”.
“We had our hearts set on our big day. To think it might not be happening is heartbreaking.”
Emily and Oliver class themselves as “laid-back and chilled” and thought the “most chilled wedding” would be a “beach wedding” hence why they chose to get married in Kos.
They chose TUI because “everything was in a package”, and “within a month” they had their whole wedding organised and booked.
Danielle, 27, and her partner Rhydian were due to get married in May 2023, and had 50-60 wedding guests joining them on their special day.
She told Wales Online: “We’ve known for a while we wanted our wedding to be abroad. We booked the wedding with TUI back in November of last year, it was so exciting. We were supposed to have a virtual meeting with the wedding organising team in November of this year.”
Danielle said she has “had no correspondence” from Tui and thought “something was not right” so did some researched and “noticed on Google that the hotel said it was permanently closed”.
“I contacted the TUI store and they reassured me that it was due to the winter period that they were closed. But it wasn’t even allowing any other of my guests to log on and book at the hotel. That’s when I started to get really concerned,” she added.
Danielle and Emily found each other online, alongside 40 other brides who are also in a similar situation. According to the brides-to-be, they’ve been “told different things” by TUI, and claim there has been “no communications, meetings or clarification” from the travel and tourism company.
Danielle is “worried” about where her money has gone and is concerned because of the number of guests that have “already booked on and other guests that want to book on” who have also “paid a huge chunk” towards attending the wedding.
Danielle said the whole ordeal has been “so stressful” and she has “considered cancelling the wedding” because it’s not what they signed up for.
In response, a spokesperson for TUI told Wales Online they are aware of the speculation around the weddings set to take place in the summer of 2023 and are prioritising their wedding bookings. They noted that all those that have booked weddings through TUI with the previous venue will go ahead at a different venue.
In a statement, a spokesperson for TUI said: “We’re aware of customer speculation over summer 2023 weddings to Holiday Village Atlantica Kos.
“It’s correct that the hotel is currently off sale, however, we can now confirm that we will be launching a new Holiday Village in Kos. We know how important weddings are to our customers and we want to reassure all those who have booked weddings through TUI to the Holiday Village Atlantica that both the holiday and wedding will go ahead on the dates booked in our new Holiday Village.”
The TUI teams say they have a “fantastic Holiday Village experience” with “great facilities and entertainment”.
The customer service teams are said to be “in touch directly with those who have bookings to discuss all options, prioritising our wedding bookings who will be contacted within the next seven days”.
TUI would also “like to apologise for the delay in communicating this change to our customers”.
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