It’s summer holiday season for most of Western Europe and in particular the United Kingdom. Holidays with the family can and should be a relaxing break with none of the worries of your normal routine back home. However with the recent uprise in terrorist atrocities and violent crime across the globe it is important to consider the geographical location of your holiday as well as the most recent threat reporting and local demographics.
Some of the most cost-effective holiday solutions on the market are in countries with a much poorer economic situation, greater crime rate and considerably less effective emergency services that we enjoy and take for granted in the U.K. Infrastructure such as road and rail networks, hotel facilities and hospitals are to a much lower standard and often emergency medical care will be very expensive as not many countries have the luxury of free care that our NHS provides. A considerable proportion of the cheaper holiday locations have a much more conservative view of community standards and laws or suffer from widespread corruption. Terrorist organisations such as Islamic State (IS / ISIS / ISIL) harbour empathy in a lot of conservative muslim states and these organisations actively encourage their followers to target western ex-patriats or holiday makers. It is therefore imperative to read the latest threat analysis from the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office and ensure that all necessary insurance measures are in place for your trip including medical and emergency repatriation cover. Most insurers will not pay out for a terrorist incident so read the small print.
Local laws are another consideration. You can find yourself in serious trouble for things that we consider normal back home such as holding hands without being married in Dubai, U.A.E., drinking alcohol in Saudi Arabia, blasphemy in many conservative muslim states, Turkey has some new laws preventing criticism of Erdogan, most African countries have strict dress codes for women and men and in Thailand you can find yourself in prison for insulting the royal family.
When you sit down with your family to discuss your holiday plans, take time to make sure everyone is aware of what to do in an emergency. What are the dangers of the area that you are visiting and what areas should you look to avoid. What’s the dress code and laws on alcohol consumption of the place that you are visiting remembering most countries are not as liberal as we are used to in the west. Take time to watch this video issued by U.K. Counter Terrorism Command.
The best way to have a relaxing break is to feel safe and secure in the knowledge that everything is taken care of, but often people neglect their own safety and threat assessments. Our advice is to make sure you have taken all precautions before your visit:
- Have proper travel insurance.
- Have proper medical cover.
- Read the FCO website on the location that you will be visiting BEFORE booking your holiday.
- Make a note of your nearest British Embassy, Consulate or high Commission and have a plan to get there.
- Read up on the laws of the land you are visiting paying particular attention to dress codes, alcohol and religious laws including blasphemy laws.
- Make a note of emergency services numbers for the country you are visiting.
- Co-operate fully with security officials and always carry a copy of your electronic visa, passport and/or residency certificate.
We hope you have a safe vacation but is there is anything you need help with do not hesitate to get in touch with the team at Fox Surveillance and Security Solutions Ltd.