Foreign Office urges travel agents to educate holidaymakers

The Foreign Office has urged travel agents to help educate holidaymakers on how to behave appropriately and stay safe abroad.

British tourists are still running into trouble, with new FCO figures showing high numbers of people losing their passport, being arrested or hospitalised on holiday.

Between April 1 2006 and March 31 2007, 8,304 British travellers neededassistance in the US, 6,710 passports were lost in Spain and 602 Britons were hospitalised in Greece.

FCO Know Before You Go campaign manager Jess Prasad said: “Travel has become easier than ever and people are not taking enough care. We rely on agents and operators to put across our safety messages.

“We’d ask them to advise people to check our website before they travel.“

The FCO’s figures revealed the number of British people arrested in Spain rose 33% to 2,032. This is likely to be a result of police clamping down on binge drinkers in resorts and people driving without a licence, said Prasad.

As aproportion, however, Brits were more likely to be arrested in Cyprus and the United Arab Emirates. “Dubai has clamped down on drugs, with possession of as little as 0.01g leading to arrests.Agents should explain that the rules are not the same as at home, and pleading ignorance will not get you off,” she added.

The number of British deaths in Spain rose 20% to 1,591, as a result of the ageing expat community and large number of escorted tours visiting the country, which tend to attract older clients.

“We would urge people to buy the most appropriate travel insurance and declare pre-existing medical conditions,” said Prasad.

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