Local MP Tom Brake today warned constituents about the dangers of hitting the slopes this winter without insurance, with new research from ABTA showing that nearly a third (31%) of all UK travellers do not check whether they have the correct insurance to cover winter sports, such as skiing and snowboarding.
Tom is supporting a campaign run by ABTA – The Travel Association, in partnership with The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), urging holidaymakers to be prepared for their travels abroad and ensure they have bought suitable insurance cover.
Tom Brake the MP for Carshalton and Wallington said:
“Winter sports holidays are popular with many of us, as they provide an opportunity to combine a holiday with something more active. However, medical costs arising from uninsured accidents abroad can be very significant indeed. In addition to the worry over a sick or injured relative, it is often families who are presented with the bills, and the added stress of covering these. It is crucial when we do travel overseas, we are covered in case of something going wrong. Travel insurance really is a travel essential - that is why I am very happy to support this campaign and urge all my constituents to take out travel insurance this winter.”
Taking out the correct winter sports insurance is more important than ever. There were 45 British deaths from skiing and snowboarding holidays reported to the FCO in the last three years, with thousands more having suffered injuries both on- and off-piste. To help raise awareness, ABTA and the FCO have also teamed up with former British Olympic skier, Chemmy Alcott, to provide the latest travel advice from pre-departure to après ski.
Chemmy Alcott’s top ten tips for a safe trip this winter:
· Take out comprehensive travel insurance with winter sports cover and check what it covers
· If heading to Europe, travel with a freeEuropean Health Insurance Card (EHIC) to get free necessary treatment at public hospitals
· Make sure your passport is valid before you travel
· Check the FCO’stravel advice for the country you are visiting
· Keep up to date with the local weather conditions before you go and while you’re in resort.
· Stick with your mates when walking back to your hotel or chalet and follow the signed paths
· Only ski off-piste if you are a confident skier, aware of the risks and are with a qualified guide
· Wear a helmet
· Remember the effects of drinking alcohol increase at altitude – your judgment, coordination and reaction times may be affected
· Make sure you and your friends know that in an emergency, the number to call is 112 in Europe and 911 in USA.
ABTA has more advice for people heading on a winter sports holiday on its website:http://abta.com/news-and-views/campaign-zone/winter-sports-tips.
What can the FCO do for people who have problems when travelling abroad?
The FCO can:
· Issue you with an emergency travel document
· Provide information about transferring money
· Provide help if you have suffered rape or serious sexual or physical assault, are a victim of crime or are ill or in hospital
· Give you a list of local lawyers, interpreters, doctors or funeral directors
· Contact you if you are detained abroad
· Contact friends and family at home for you if you wish
· Provide help in cases of forced marriage
· Assist people affected by parental child abduction
The FCO cannot:
· Help you enter a country if you do not have a valid passport or necessary visas
· Give you legal advice or translate documents
· Investigate crimes or get you out of prison
· Get you better treatment in hospital or prison than is given to local people (but we will raise concerns if treatment falls below internationally recognised standards)
· Pay any bills or give you money
· Make travel arrangements for you
Notes to Editors
1. Survey conducted by Opinium in November 2015, from a nationally representative sample of 2,003 British nationals.
2. Consumer research was conducted by Arkenford Ltd (www.arkenford.co.uk) who specialise in tourism and leisure market research. The ABTA Consumer Trends survey generated responses from a nationally representative sample of 2003 consumers using an online research methodology and related to holiday booking habits in the 12 months to August 2015. Fieldwork was conducted in August 2015.
3. Michael Vibert, Head of Consular Consular Communications, Foreign and Commonwealth office provided the following quote with the launch of the campaign: “With the winter season about to begin and millions of British nationals setting off to resorts across Europe and North America, we want to ensure that everyone enjoys their time in the mountains. ABTA’s research suggests that almost a third of Britons are travelling without checking their insurance, so it’s important to take note of our advice and #SkiSafe this season.”
4. Mark Tanzer, ABTA Chief Executive ABTA provided the following quote with the launch of the campaign: “As we look forward to the winter sports season, we are urging holidaymakers to be aware of the potential risks of such activities. Along with following safety advice, we would advise anyone planning a winter sports holiday to ensure that have the appropriate insurance in place. Unfortunately accidents can happen and can lead to costly medical bills, but having the right kind of cover means people can make the most of their time on the slopes without having to worry.”
5. For further information from ABTA, please contact Daisy Parker, PR and Campaigns Manager, tel: 020 3117 0531; Out of Hours: Contact the Duty Press Officer via pager: 07659 190 987; E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; Web:www.abta.com; Twitter: @ABTAtravel