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Tourists charged £3300 for dinner in hummus restaurant – but they ‘should pay more’, says owner

A group of Chinese tourists have been hit with a 3,300 bill after visiting a restaurant in Jerusalem but the owner of the restaurant insists he should have charged them more.

The eight diners at Abu Ghosh restaurant, which is named after the popular tourist town, were stung to the tune of NIS 3,150 ( 630) for main courses (including 30kg of stuffed mutton), NIS 4,000 ( 800) for private hire, NIS 5,900 ( 1,176) for alcohol, and a NIS 1,500 ( 300) service charge despite the fact that the bill said that service was not included.

The bill | How much?!1

The restaurant, which seats 300 diners, is far from lavish: it is popular for its cheap and cheerful dishes of hummus and kebabs. The tourists paid the bill at the time, but have since refuted it, saying that they didn t order the alcohol or 30kg of meat and have enlisted the Israel Incoming Tour Operators Association to help fight their corner. But restaurant co-owner Jawdat Ibrahim told the Guardian2 that the bill was justified: I was told they were very important people and they wanted to reserve a special section of the restaurant on Friday night, our busiest day. We provided them with their own bar and expensive drinks and a whole stuffed lamb, which cost me a lot.

They seemed happy and gave us a large tip and then someone put the bill on Facebook! People don t understand of course we have meals that cost $15 but this was special.

Tourists Charged £3300 For Dinner In Hummus Restaurant – But They 'should Pay More', Says Owner The village of Abu Ghosh is popular with tourists Credit: Alamy

Ibrahim claimed that the group stayed for nine hours, and became drunk and rowdy. The truth is that I thought that they should pay much more, since I had no other diners that day, he told Israeli business newspaper Globes3. But Yossi Fattal, CEO of the tourism association, said that the group rented a private room while the rest of the restaurant remained open to the public, and the alcohol had been put out on the tables and was not ordered by the Chinese. He said they stayed for four hours not the nine hours that Ibrahim claimed.

Tourists Charged £3300 For Dinner In Hummus Restaurant – But They 'should Pay More', Says Owner Abh Ghosh Restaurant, where the eight tourists racked up a 3,280 bill Credit: AP/Sebastian Scheiner

The association has since published the bill to illustrate the importance of fair and polite treatment of tourists, said Fattal in a statement.

Tourists are an important sector of the country s economy There may be a billion Chinese, but they may not all be suckers. By behaving this way, we are with our own hands destroying the budding potential of the Chinese market for Israel. These Chinese said they would not be back and would not recommend their friends to visit Israel.

Tourists Charged £3300 For Dinner In Hummus Restaurant – But They 'should Pay More', Says Owner This is what 4,090kg of hummus looks like Credit: Alamy

Jawdat Ibrahim is a bit of a local celebrity: he lived in Chicago for six years, and won $17.5 million in the Illinois State Lottery, then returned to his home country as a businessman and philanthropist. In 2010, he set the Guinness World Record for the world s largest hummus dish, which weighed 4,090kg.

The row continues.

Tourists Charged £3300 For Dinner In Hummus Restaurant – But They 'should Pay More', Says OwnerTop tips for finding a cheap flight Play! 01:49

References

  1. ^ The bill | How much?! (cf-particle-html.eip.discountholidays.info)
  2. ^ Guardian (www.theguardian.com)
  3. ^ Globes (www.globes.co.il)

Pregnant woman refused £1k refund after cancelling Thomson holiday to Zika-affected Orlando

Pregnant Woman Refused £1k Refund After Cancelling Thomson <b><i>Discount Holidays ©</i></b> Holiday To Zika-affected Orlando

Zabina Mirza decided to cancel her Discount Holidays © holiday to Florida after discovering her pregnancy

A woman has been refused a refund after deciding to cancel her Discount Holidays © holiday to Zika-affected Florida when she discovered she was pregnant. Zabina Mirza is due to travel with Thomson Airways to Orlando and had paid 1051.24 for the trip. But after deciding that the destination was no longer safe given her condition, she discovered that her options were limited when it came to cancellations.

Ms Mirza told MailOnline Travel that Thomson offered to rebook her flights for a later date. However, she says, since ‘the Zika virus appears to be expanding its web further – this did not appear viable to me.’

The only alternative was a voucher, which must be used within 18 months and only applies to Thomson destinations. This, the 44-year-old says, was also unsuitable since ‘a voucher tries to either give interest free credit to the airline or it traps a person to use it within 18 months.’

Ms Mirza, who works as a contractor in London, says that she would rather have a refund as the money could be used for the baby.

The first time mother is left questioning why Thomson is refusing to offer refunds even though airlines such as Virgin have agreed to do so. Now she is struggling to decide whether or not to cancel the break. A statement1 issued on Thomson’s website explained that the company’s policy on Zika-affected destinations is to offer alternative holidays without an amendment fee.

However, customers must ‘have a doctor s note in line with the advice issued by NaTHNaC’.

Pregnant Woman Refused £1k Refund After Cancelling Thomson <b><i>Discount Holidays ©</i></b> Holiday To Zika-affected Orlando

The expectant mother was due to travel to Orlando, Florida, with Thomson Airways (file photo)

A spokesperson for Thomson told MailOnline Travel: ‘We re sorry to hear Ms Mirza is unhappy with the alternative Discount Holidays © holiday arrangements offered.

‘As soon as we learned of her situation, we offered an amendment to any available Thomson and First Choice holiday.

‘The Foreign and Commonwealth Office advises that people who are pregnant, or planning to be, refer to the advice of the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC).

‘We recommend that customers who wish to cancel their Discount Holidays © holiday approach their insurance company.

‘We handle all cases like this on an individual basis and would encourage Ms Mirza to contact our Customer Services team at her earliest convenience to discuss her specific circumstances.’

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT ZIKA

WHAT IS ZIKA?

The Zika (ZEE’-ka) virus was first discovered in monkey in Uganda in 1947 – its name comes from the Zika forest where it was first discovered.

HOW IS IT SPREAD?

MOSQUITOES

It is typically transmitted through bites from the Aedes species of mosquitoes. They are aggressive feeders, commonly biting multiple people in quick succession, fueling the spread of the virus. They are most active during mid-morning and then again between late afternoon and nightfall.

SEX

Scientists have found Zika can be transmitted sexually – from both men and women. Couples should abstain or wear condoms for eight weeks if either partner has traveled to a country with a Zika outbreak, regardless of whether they have symptoms.

MOTHER TO BABY

Pregnant Woman Refused £1k Refund After Cancelling Thomson <b><i>Discount Holidays ©</i></b> Holiday To Zika-affected Orlando

Zika, which is transmitted through mosquito bites or sexual contact, can cause microcephaly in developing foetuses, making the virus particularly devastating to prospective parents

A mother can pass the virus to her unborn baby during pregnancy. There are two ways this can happen: through the placenta, and through the amniotic sac.

Since the virus can live in the womb lining, there is a chance the baby can become infected during birth.

ARE THERE SYMPTOMS?

The majority of people infected with Zika virus will not experience symptoms. Those that do, usually develop mild symptoms – fever, rash, joint pain, and red eyes – for no more than a week. There is no specific treatment for the virus and there is currently no vaccine.

CAN THE SPREAD BE STOPPED?

Individuals can protect themselves from mosquito bites by using insect repellents. They could also wear long sleeves and long pants – especially during daylight, when the mosquitoes tend to be most active, health officials say. Eliminating breeding spots and controlling mosquito populations can help prevent the spread of the virus.

References

  1. ^ statement (press.thomson.co.uk)

The Best Dates to Book Your Holiday Travel

It doesn t feel like it should be time to book your Discount Holidays © holiday travel just yet we haven t even closed out the summer with Labor Day getaways but many people think that the sooner you secure your tickets and hotel rooms, the better the deals you ll get. Turns out, that may not be entirely true. According to a recent study by Skyscanner, a global travel search engine, the time when you ll truly get the most bang for your buck is no more than four weeks prior to each of the end-of-year holidays Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years.

Skyscanner reviewed the U.S. roundtrip booking habits of its more than 50 million users and discovered that there are even possible savings if you book your flights the same week. However, if you aren t up for that much risk with booking your trips, the site does suggest alternative time frames.

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When Should I Book My Discount Holidays © Holiday Travel?

For Thanksgiving, the data crunchers suggest booking the week of October 31 to get the most savings (7.7%) or the week of October 17 (for savings of 5.1%). If you re planning Christmas travels, you may want to do so the week of November 21 for the best deals (6.4% savings). If you don t want to add one more thing to your list of things to do around Thanksgiving, the week of December 5 will reportedly get you a savings of almost 5%. And if it s New Year s travel you re planning, you could do so at the same time as your Christmas plans, as the week of December 5 will reportedly get you a 10.5% savings. These travel experts say waiting to make New Year s travel plans until the last minute could pay off for you, with last-minute bookings (one week away) offering savings of 6.7% or two weeks out a 6.6% savings.

And what about when it comes to specific dates? Many experts recommend booking your travel to fly in or out of town on a Tuesday, Wednesday or Sunday. Travels on Friday and Sunday are typically considered the most expensive, so you ll want to avoid those if possible.

Budgeting for Discount Holidays © Holiday Travel

If you aren t new to traveling for the holidays, you know how expensive it can get. It s a good idea to figure out how much of an expense your wallet can handle and take some time to search for deals that fall within your budget. You may also want to look for additional ways to save, like using a travel credit card3 that offers perks like the opportunity to check your bag for free.

Just keep in mind that these cards often require a good credit score4 to qualify, so if you re thinking of applying for one, it s a good idea to check your credit scores ahead of time so you have an idea of whether you ll be eligible. (You can see two of your credit scores for free5, updated each month, on Credit.com.)

Image: JackF

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References

  1. ^ Get Help Now (www.credit.com)
  2. ^ Privacy Policy (www.credit.com)
  3. ^ travel credit card (www.credit.com)
  4. ^ good credit score (www.credit.com)
  5. ^ see two of your credit scores for free (www.credit.com)
  6. ^ Sign up now (www.credit.com)

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