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A bad day for British tourists

 NepalThe dangers associated with world travel hit home on a bad day for British travellers.

 

The well publicised bus hostage crisis in Manila which left 8 tourists dead, although being an extreme example, is not an isolated incident. The Philippines is a dangerous country and has high levels of crime including crime against tourists.

Some parts of the Philippines are really no-go areas for western tourists, with on-going violent insurgencies in several provinces. However even in the ‘safer’ parts of the country extreme caution should be taken.

There are few part of the world I have visited (outside of countries experiencing armed conflict) where the use of firearms is so prevalent. In Manila you will find shopping centres which house churches next door to over-the-counter gun shops; the number of private security guards is phenomenal and they are all armed.

The experience of going into a 7/11 convenience store which is guarded by a plain clothed security guard brandishing proudly his silver pump-action shotgun (seemingly the preferred status symbol) was a new one for me; that police patrols can regularly be seen in amour plated vehicles, which we would associate with the military rather than the police, should tell you something.

I should balance this image with the fact that the Philippines is also in parts the most friendly and welcoming country and one it is easy to fall in love with.

Nepal has its own challenges and being a country dominated by the high Himalayas and unpredictable weather patterns, is a challenge for highly skilled pilots who ply their trade in this area. The Lukla airstrip is frequently used, but is still one of the world’s most difficult landing strips; although in this case it was not the airstrip which resulted in the accident, but apparently the aircraft which had technical problems.

This is not the first or the last air crash which has / will occur in this part of the world. It is worth looking into the safety records of these local airlines which generally reflect the quality of servicing of their aircraft receive and be aware of the prevailing weather conditions, which in like all mountainous areas can quickly change.

Travel carries risk, of that we are well aware. Risk shouldn’t stop us travelling because the rewards are too great. What we must all do more effectively is reduce the risk through proactive travel planning and greater awareness during travel.

At Safe Gap Year our Independent Travel Safety and Cultural Awareness Workshop considers issues of Travel Safety, alongside sessions on Cultural Awareness, Travel Health, Ethical and Responsible Travel, Travel Equipment, Destination Advice, Transport Options, Documentation, Travel Money and Insurance and more.

For more information on any of our services, please call us on 0845 602 55 95 or Contact Us.

Source – Metro / Evening Standard 

Date – 25th August 2010

Submitted by – Peter Mayhew