UK consulate and tour operators discuss helping tourists in distress

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The British Consul met with around 40 representatives from the UK’s top tourism companies to discuss how to work together to support British nationals on the Costa Blanca.

Companies who attended the event included Thomas Cook, TUI UK and Ireland, Jet2holidays.com, SAGA and Med Hotels amongst others The event held at the Melia Hotel in Benidorm started with a presentation from the British Consul, Paul Rodwell, in which he outlined what the Consulate can and cannot do to help British nationals in distress.

He explained that the Consulate can help in case of serious assault, arrest or hospitalisation, but that they can only visit someone in hospital if they are alone or particularly vulnerable.

He also explained that when a British national is arrested, the Consulate will try to make contact and visit, but they can’t do anything to get that person out of jail or give legal advice.

The Consul explained issues around lost and stolen passports.

He stressed that prevention is the key and asked the tour operators to encourage British nationals to follow some simple steps to keep their passports safe such as leaving it in the hotel when they go to the beach, and being extra vigilant when they arrive at the airport.

He also said that if someone does lose their passport, or it is stolen, they should come to the Consulate in Alicante to apply for an Emergency Travel Document to ensure they can get home safely.

He also touched on the importance of working together should a crisis situation arise, and outlined what the Consulate can do if something serious were to happen such as the volcano ash crisis two years ago.

After the meeting Mr Rodwell said, “It is essential to work closely with tourism partners to be able to give the best possible support to distressed British nationals.

The holiday company representatives speak to hundreds of British tourists every day and it is important that they understand fully the role of the Consulate and what to do in an emergency and can pass this information onto their customers.

With the volcano ash crisis and other challenging situations, we have seen how important it is to have close working relationship with tourism partners and the British consulate.

I am pleased that feedback from those who attended suggests that the event was a great success and the working relationship is closer than ever.”

More details about what the Consulate can and cannot do and contact details in case something goes wrong can be found on ukinspain.fco.gov.uk

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