Consul encourages cooperation in meeting with tour operators

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BRITISH Consul in Alicante Paul Rodwell met with tour operators in Benidorm to discuss how best to support British nationals on holiday in the Costa Blanca this summer and to ask them to continue to promote the advantages of taking out travel insurance. As the tourist season gets into full swing, supporting Brits who come to Spain on holiday is a top priority for the British Consulate.

Benidorm, one of the most popular tourist destinations in Spain for British holiday-makers, is a key area for both the Consulate and the tour operators, which is why it is essential that they have a good working relationship.

Paul Rodwell gave a presentation to the tour operators regarding what the Consulate can and cannot do, and how to support someone who has been hospitalised, bereaved or has suffered a sexual assault.

They discussed who has responsibility of supporting the tourists who travel with a tour operator (the tour operator is responsible for their care unless they need assistance after their departure date has passed) and how they might deal with a crisis situation if this were to arise.

They also discussed ways of preventing Brits from becoming victims of crime, especially when they first arrive.

The Consul told the tour operators ‘We all know that a lost or stolen passport can be a distressing experience for any holiday maker so it’s really important to encourage people to be vigilant when they first arrive and then leave their passport in their hotel safe. Carrying a photocopy around in Benidorm is normally sufficient for the local authorities.’

The Consul also presented the Foreign and Commonwealth Office ‘Know before you go’ campaign, and asked the tour operators to continue to encourage their customers to take out travel insurance, declare any medical problems they already have and ensure the emergency contacts section of their passports are filled in.

A survey commissioned by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office shows that a third of people failed to take out travel insurance the last time they stayed with family and friends overseas.

More than three quarters (77%) of those saying they are visiting friends and family this year said that saving money is a key factor in their decision.  However, a lack of comprehensive travel insurance cover is a false economy and guests could face serious financial difficulty if they need medical treatment or lose valuable possessions.

Over a third (39%) of British guests have relied on their hosts when things have gone wrong during their trip.  British expats hosting visitors have faced a range of problems from taking guests to hospital when they fall ill to providing financial help.

Paul said ‘People who travel with a tour operator can access a lot of invaluable support if something goes wrong, and in the Consulate in Alicante we realise this is the case. For example, if one of their holiday-makers ends up in hospital, they will visit regularly, or if someone is a victim of crime, they will advise how to make a police report and check they are ok. It was really useful to meet with them, and I hope that this summer, together we will be able to offer as much support to British nationals in need as possible’.

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