Ambassador identifies travel risks
BANGKOK, 30 July 2012: The British Behaviour Abroad Report 2012 listed Thailand as the fourth most likely country where British nationals would require the most consular assistance.
The report, released earlier this month, looks at trends in 20 countries based on consular assistance cases.
The report cited 978 consular assistance cases in Thailand 1 April 2011 to 31 March 2012, an increase of 1.14%. During the same period 894,224 British visited or resided in Thailand.
Calculated proportionally, British citizens in Thailand (978 cases or 0.11%) are the second most likely to require assistance after Philippines (240, cases or 0.20%).
In terms of hospitalisation, British citizens are most likely to be hospitalised in Greece (494 cases or 0.03%) followed by Thailand (217 cases or 0.024%) and the Philippines (25 cases or 0.021%).
British Ambassador to Thailand, Asif Ahmad, said in an embassy statement: “Thailand rightly remains an attractive tourist destination and a significant number of people have chosen to become long-term residents.
“Good planning is the best way to avoid hazards and insurance for travel and health is essential. Medical bills can run to thousands of pounds and the ordinary British tax payer cannot meet the uninsured costs of fellow citizens who have chosen to venture abroad.
“Make sure you read the small print – riding a motorbike or other activities could invalidate the insurance policy…We do recommend travellers check health requirements to ensure they’ve had all the necessary vaccinations.”
The statement noted 296 Britons died in Thailand over the last year, about 75% were residents, many retirees in Thailand. However, after natural causes, the second most frequent cause of death was road traffic accidents.
In recent years in Thailand, there was an average of 12,000 deaths per year from road traffic accidents, of which about 70% involved motorbikes.
Many accidents are due to poor safety standards of vehicles and drivers and travelling at night in private or public transport increases the risk of death or injury on the roads.
However, the death cases dropped around 15% from 347 last year. Hospitalisation also decreased by 11.8% from 246 to 217 cases.
“I have seen the sadness and anguish of relatives after incidents which, if thought through, are entirely avoidable. Like the majority of visitors and residents in Thailand, I hope everyone stays safe and enjoys their time in the country,” Mr Ahmad added.