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  1. ITV Report

Holidaymakers held in Tunisia hotel over Thomas Cook crisis

A holidaymaker told ITV News hundreds were trapped. Credit: Gary Seale

British holidaymakers compared the scene at a Tunisia hotel that refused to let guests leave over the Thomas Cook affair to a “hostage situation”.

Guests at the Les Orangers beach resort in the town of Hammamet, near Tunis, said security guards kept the gates shut while the hotel demanded visitors pay extra money out of fear Thomas Cook will not give what's owed.

The travel company is meeting with key parties this morning - understood to be taking place at City law firm Slaughter and May - in a final bid to piece together a rescue deal.

Ryan Farmer, from Leicestershire, said the hotel had on Saturday afternoon summoned all guests who were due to leave to go to reception “to pay additional fees, obviously because of the situation with Thomas Cook”.

Gary Seale, now home in Shrewsbury, told ITV News there were around "five or six hundred" trapped inside the hotel and said they had received no apology from Thomas Cook.

Security officers have closed the gates and left guests inside. Credit: Gary Seale

With many tourists defying the demand since they had already paid the embattled travel company, security guards were keeping the hotel’s gates shut, refusing to allow guests out, or to let new visitors enter.

“We can’t leave the hotel. I’d describe it as exactly the same as being held hostage,” Mr Farmer told BBC Five’s Stephen Nolan Show.

“We’ve been up to the gates. They had four security guards on the gates, holding the gates closed, and were not allowing anybody to leave.”

Holidaymakers have been stranded at the resort and asked for money, according to reports. Credit: Gary Seale

He said the guards were not responding to any pleas from guests to be allowed out.

“They don’t say anything, they just stand there holding the gates,” he said.

“There was a gentleman from Ireland trying to talk to the security guards and say, ‘Look, we want to go home, we want to go home. Can you let us out?’ They just look at him and laugh and continue to hold the gate shut."

Guests at a Tunisia hotel are reportedly being stopped from leaving over the Thomas Cook financial crisis. Credit: PA

Mr Ryan said a woman in her 80s had been made to pay the hotel “more than £2,000”, although she had already paid Thomas Cook for her holiday.

“A Thomas Cook representative is trying to sort things out with the hotel, but they’re just not interested,” Mr Ryan said.

Thomas Cook has about 180,000 customers abroad right now. Credit: PA

The British Consulate in Tunisia had reportedly been made aware of the situation at the hotel.

Thomas Cook has called a meeting on Sunday morning of major shareholders and creditors in a bid to avoid going into administration.

A Government spokesman said: "We recognise it's a worrying time for holidaymakers and employees.

"The financial circumstances of individual businesses are a commercial matter, but the Government and the Civil Aviation Authority are monitoring the situation closely."