With the holiday season upon us and the FCO set to deal with the thousands of UK
citizens that will be calling upon its services this summer, the FCO ‘Know Before
You Go’ campaign releases its British Behaviour Abroad report.
The report provides incident figures from Foreign Office records highlighting the
key problems that British nationals experience abroad. According to the most
accurate figures available, the period April 05-March 06 saw 1,368 Britons
arrested in the USA; 955 hospitalised in Greece; 376 British citizens die in France
and 6,078 lose their passports in Spain.
The FCO believes that many of these problems could be prevented or made easier to
deal with through better preparation by travellers, and by releasing these figures
it hopes to encourage travellers to be more prepared for their trips and more aware
of their environment whilst abroad.
The report reveals many interesting findings: The Czech Republic features as one of
the countries where most consular assistance is required with a disproportionate
number of lost passports, arrests and hospitalisations. This is likely to be due to
the massive influx of hen and stag parties to Prague. India, Thailand and Australia
also appear in the top ten countries where Briton’s required consular assistance -
perhaps suggesting although Brits are getting more adventurous with their travels
they are not doing enough preparation before they go. The high figures in India
might well be a result of many British Asians visiting family members and forgoing
usual travel preparations such as vaccinations or travel insurance.
Foreign & Commonwealth Office Minister, Meg Munn, said: “One of the most important
tasks for the Foreign Office is our work to help British nationals in distress
overseas. As this report shows, although some of the incidents people face are
unavoidable, many can be prevented with a little planning and careful preparation.
Simple precautions like researching your destination, getting comprehensive travel
insurance, checking out medical requirements and taking copies of important
documents could help avoid common travelling traumas, risks and dangers in the