ABTA responds to gas safety campaign

Following the launch this morning of a carbon monoxide safety campaign, ABTA welcomes the call to introduce a European-wide consistent standard, something we have been calling for over many years. The danger from carbon monoxide is worldwide and not one that is restricted to tourism or to overseas destinations, as the Government has made clear today in its call to the gas, energy and heating industries to do more to reduce the number of carbon monoxide deaths in the UK.

The UK outbound tourism industry has worked hard over many years to identify potential risks for holidaymakers from many sources and put in place procedures to minimise or remove those risks. This has been very successful and the chances of suffering accidental injury or death have been reduced to a minimum - but one death is one too many.

ABTA Chief Executive, Mark Tanzer, said:

The most important measure at present, and the one that is required under UK law, is for operators to ensure that local safety standards in the destination are met. The robust procedures and checks tour operators have in place are designed to ensure not only compliance with local standards but that they are exceeded where possible.

Whether abroad or at home it can never be a risk free world and tragic accidents will always happen from time to time, no matter what rules and regulations are in place. However, we are not complacent and we have already been in discussions with Government about how we can best protect UK citizens abroad.


While it would be heartening to believe that the UK industry could dictate to overseas accommodation providers that they must meet UK standards this would not be a practical way forward. Tourism is a global industry with tourists visiting countries with a range of standards and requirements on many occasions higher than in their own home country.

Even in the UK with it’s own robust regulations, carbon monoxide is the most common cause of fatal poisoning today. On average over the last 10 years in the UK this gas has caused the accidental deaths of 200 people each year and a much larger number of non-lethal poisonings.

Mark Tanzer added:

We fully support todays move to introduce EU-wide standards to ensure consistent protection for holidaymakers in European destinations on a range of safety and security issues. Indeed, ABTA has been working in Europe to develop hotel fire safety standards for many years. The frustration is that safety standards are not high on the EU agenda.

Until these issues are tackled on a European basis the UK industry will continue to develop its programme of audits and risk-assessments to ensure that UK holidaymakers are in safe and secure environments while abroad. To assist holidaymakers further, ABTA announced last week the launch of its own health and safety database which will enable its members to access a reliable, independently audited hotel database.