Is holiday risk underestimated?

By | Category: Travel rumblings


Last week HolidayTravelWatch, a website that acts as a conduit for holiday complaints, announced that there was “a general failure by the travel industry to offer a clear picture… to provide full information about a given destination.” This came about after the attack on a holy temple in Bangkok.

To quote Frank Brehany, the Consumer Director for HolidayTravelWatch “Whilst I have no problem with any country promoting its tourism, it must do so responsibly and not see tourists simply as a means to prop up other failures in its economy or to project some kind of normalcy – Consumers deserve better respect than that Once again the travel industry is failing to fully advise holidaymakers as to the risks that they may face in any particular destination; the industry really must address their shortcomings in pre-sale destination advices – it is no longer tenable to simply state that terrorism or attacks can happen anywhere in the world; the travel industry must help Consumers to mitigate that risk!”

Brehany raises some interesting issues that we as part of the travel media may be guilty of as well. Should we highlight everywhere that is a risk as we write about it? Should we refuse to travel to places where there is an element of risk knowing that if we write about it we might be encouraging some people to travel there? Should we refuse press trips to places that might be considered dangerous knowing that we face little danger because we are always escorted?

There aren’t any easy answers to these thoughts. But if we only wrote about safe places and by safe I mean places where there is no Foreign and Commonwealth Office guidance to avoid we might as well close down tomorrow. The most popular overseas destination for Brits is Spain – which has an FCO warning about terrorism. The second most popular place is France – which has an FCO warning about terrrorism. In all there are over 220 advisories in place.  the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has similar advisories. If you look at the advisories from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Australia, you will see that there is a terrorism risk in coming to the UK so should we refuse to cover domestic trips? The Australians only have 160 warnings out.

To fulfil the request of HolidayTravelWatch to list every potential risk will be a bit like those bits of paper you get when you buy headache pills. Every possible risk under the sun is incuded regardless of the percentage risk. But would that mean that people would be overwhelmed and not read the advice?


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