The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) carried out an investigation which concluded that Pontins had been operating a policy of refusing bookings by Gypsies and Travellers.
The discriminatory policy came to light as a result of a whistleblower's decision to reveal the firm’s practices.
A document uploaded to Pontins intranet listed several surnames, most of which are relatively common Irish names, under the heading ‘Undesirable Guests’.
The document said: “Please be aware that several guests are unwelcome at Pontins, however some of these will still try and book - especially during the school holidays.”
The document stated that Pontins’ Operations Director did not “want these guests on our parks” and to watch out for the names “for ANY future bookings.”
Above the list of names, the document showed an illustration of a wizard, with the phrase “YOU SHALL NOT PASS” written above it.
The names listed were:
The EHRC’s executive director, Alastair Pringle, said: “It is hard not to draw comparisons with an ‘undesirable guest list’ and the signs displayed in hotel windows 50 years ago, explicitly barring Irish people and black people.
“Banning people from services based on their race is discrimination and is unlawful. To say that such policies are outdated is an understatement.
“It is right to challenge such practices and any business that believes this is acceptable should think again before they find themselves facing legal action.
“We will continue to work with Pontins and Britannia Jinky Jersey to ensure that our agreement is adhered to and its practices improve.”
Speaking to inews, CEO of the Traveller Movement, Yvonne MacNamara, said: “We’ve heard holiday camps do this sort of thing all the time. We are pleased to see the EHRC taking this course of action and really using its powers appropriately.
“We hope this sets a precedent, both for whistleblowers and for other holiday camp providers. This treatment of Irish Travellers is completely unacceptable and shouldn’t be tolerated.”