Is the “Mail on Sunday” scaremongering?

By | Category: Travel rumblings

the Costa del Sol

Yesterday, the Mail on Sunday had a holiday story on the front page. It read, “SAS-trained guards are sent to the Costa del Sol: Tour operators hire minders to protect UK tourists over fears of a Tunisia-style beach attack.”

In just the headline we have three elements that might concern holidaymakers; “SAS,” “protect British tourists” and “Tunisia-style beach attack.” Mixing those phrases together might well deter people from considering a holiday so is the Mail on Sunday being fair or is it scaremongering?

The paper says, “It is understood the dramatic move came after intelligence was received that the terror group (Isis) intended to massacre UK tourists in a repeat of the 2015 attack in Tunisia when 30 British holidaymakers died.” As a result of this “intelligence,” 100 ex special forces troops (this isn’t the same as SAS-trained claimed in the headline) were being “rushed” to mainland Spain, the Canaries and the Balearics.

The paper claims that the hundred are being recruited by British tour operators although the biggest two, Thomas Cook and Thomson are both quoted by it as saying that “they were not aware of the move.” Given that they are responsible for more than half of the holidays in Spain that British holidaymakers will make who is left to hire these people at a salary, says the paper, of £500 per day? This would cost £50,000 a day, about £1.5 million per month or nearly £5 million for the summer holiday season. There aren’t many tour operators that can afford these costs even if it were split amongst many so maybe the job is just for half-term week.

The more you read the story, the more you question it.

Spain has been highlighted as a potential target but any country is a possibility. Only four countries in the EU have not been targetted by terrorists. You will notice increased security when you holiday in Spain and that has been introduced in response to a review by the interior ministry in Spain in the wake of the Manchester atrocity.

Rather the Mail on Sunday should have said that any destination was a potential target and then urged its readers to be vigilant and careful when they holiday wherever they go. If it has strong evidence that an attack was planned then it should have passed it to the relevant authorities and kept quiet so that the authorities could investigate without tipping off the suspects.

 

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