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Foreign Office and ABTA team up to highlight holiday balcony falls risks
7:10am Sunday 19th August 2012 in Business Daily
THE Foreign & Commonwealth Office and the ABTA - The Travel Association, have joined forces in a campaign to help prevent balcony incidents among young people in popular holiday resorts.
There have been 13 incidents of young people falling from balconies so far this year. Three of the cases resulted in death while others have been seriously injured.
In Majorca and Ibiza, two of the UK’s top tourist destinations, there have been nine cases, already matching figures for 2011, despite only being halfway through the season.
Most incidents involve young people between the ages of 18 and 35 and while not always the case, alcohol often plays a part.
Paul Abrey, Consul in the Balearics, said: “We’ve already seen some tragic cases this summer, which have had devastating consequences for the individuals and families concerned.
“This year there’s been a particular spike early on in the holiday season, with figures already matching last year’s.
“Some people have fallen while climbing to a friend’s apartment, others have simply lost their footing after a few too many drinks and a few have deliberately jumped off, aiming for the pool below.
“It should go without saying these practices are extremely dangerous and can cost them their life or leave them permanently disabled.
“Many young people also arrive without travel insurance. The FCO can’t pay medical bills and holidaymakers may end up paying out thousands for medical bills and flights back to the UK.”
ABTA predicts around 3 million young holidaymakers will head overseas this summer, with Spain, Greece and Turkey favourite destinations.
Young people travelling out to resorts will be handed leaflets, which include the story of Jake Evans, 18, from Liverpool, who narrowly survived a fall from a seventh floor balcony last year after a few too many drinks.
Mr Evans also tells his story in a video, which can be viewed on the FCO’s website and on YouTube, in an attempt to get young people to think twice before they engage in risky behaviours.
The video accompanies a short radio feature, which will be sent out to radio stations in the UK. To see Mr Evans’ story go to fco.gov.uk/jake.
Nikki White ABTA head of destinations and sustainability, said: “Each year, too many young people are permanently injured or worse because they’ve tried to climb over or dive off their hotel balcony.
“ABTA, the Foreign Office and tourist authorities are all working together to help raise awareness of the dangers and prevent these incidents.
“The after-effects are often made even worse through holidaymakers travelling uninsured and parents having to raise large amounts of money to get their children home.
“Our advice aims to help holidaymakers to use their balconies safely and prevent more of these tragic and avoidable incidents.”
This summer, the FCO and ABTA are urging young people to:
- Understand the risks - climbing over or jumping off balconies can have serious consequences
- Know your limit - alcohol can impair your judgement and hotter climates can often increase the effect of drinking
- Get comprehensive travel insurance - be prepared if something does go wrong. Figures released in July this year showed that Spain is the country where most Britons require consular assistance, including 1,105 hospitalisations