The Foreign and Commonwealth Office and ABTA have joined forces for the first time to publish a new report that highlights the potential dangers that face British tourists. Or at least the British tourists who fail to understand when they are abroad they really do need to be careful not to offend the social morays of their host nation.
The reports points out that destinations such as Egypt, Mexico and Turkey might expect to see a significant increase in visitors form Britain. This is because early figures indicate that British tourists are now tending to favour destinations that do not use the Euro.
The ‘FCO & ABTA 2009 Travel Trends Report’ shows that the number of British holidaymakers who are travelling to Egypt increased by nearly 40% (actual figures 38%) over the last year alone and that the increase in British visitors to Turkey were up by 32%. But government officials at the FCO have expressed worries that too many British travellers might not be particularly familiar with these destinations. They are, therefore, concerned that this might mean there could be an increase in the number of Britons abroad who find themselves (perhaps inadvertently) in trouble with the local law authorities.
The FCO has issued a strong warning to potential holidaymakers that they must ensure that they are fully and properly prepared for their visit to these newer holiday destinations. “Familiarise yourselves themselves with the laws and customs of the country you will holiday in,” is the basic advice offered.
But the FCO also reminds potential holidaymakers that they must help themselves by checking FCO travel advice for your particular destination, and also make certain that they take out genuinely comprehensive travel insurance. There is also the fact that anyone travelling abroad really must take all sensible health precautions like identifying if there are any special vaccination requirements for a particular destination before leaving for a holiday. (EDITOR: This holds true for other destinations, too. Even some European Union destinations have issued warnings to travellers to their country regarding health problems such a Polio outbreaks, and the like.)
The report, which researched the travel industry and consumers, also reveals:
Holiday hotspots for 2009
Mexico, Egypt, Turkey, Israel, Dubai, Dominican Republic, St Lucia, Cuba, Aruba, Galapagos Islands, Iceland, Poland, Croatia, Australia.
With many tour operators reducing their capacity for the 2009 season, the one in five British people who regularly rely on purchasing last minute bargain breaks might find themselves let down and their family disappointed this Summer, as it is believed that the scope for such holiday bargains might be significantly reduced this season.
Not having enough spending money on holiday is a worry for 41% of people who plan to holiday abroad this year. British embassies regularly have to cope with British tourists who find that they have run out of money or run into other financial problems. The FCO feels that it is better to provide yourself with access to emergency funds, whenever possible. And the FCO also points out the folly of cutting corners on travel insurance.
As more people are on a fixed budget this year, this might explain the increasing popularity of all-inclusive holidays. In fact the report concludes that this trend is set to continue.
The possibility of a tour operator failing is a concern for 35% of the population who are planning on going abroad in 2009. This has prompted the FCO to encourage holidaymakers to ensure that the tour operator we book with is ATOL registered.
Julian Braithwaite, the Director of Consular Services at the FCO, said: “Many of the changes that we’ll see taking place across the travel industry over the next year will have a direct impact on the welfare of British holidaymakers.
“It is predicted the proportion of Brits travelling to destinations outside Europe will increase. Different countries have different customs and laws, and what’s acceptable in Europe may not be acceptable elsewhere. If people don’t research their destinations before they go it could do more than spoil their holiday. What’s normal in resorts in Spain or Greece are not necessarily going to be acceptable in Turkey or Egypt. It is really important that Brits familiarise themselves with the local laws and customs before they go.”
For travel advice including country-specific information, visit www.fco.gov.uk/travel and click on your destination.