From terror attacks to fevers, there will always be risks out there says Andrew Newton
Harrowing incidents across the globe over the past year, ranging from horrific terror attacks to political unrest to the outbreak of rare diseases, might well lead many to question the sanity of jetting out for a festive break.
Attacks on beach resorts in Egypt and Tunisia as well as on the streets of Paris and San Bernardino underline the global nature to the existing security threat posed by so-called Islamic State. But should this rule out seeking some Christmas sunshine in what have been two popular North African destinations? Should France and California be considered no-go areas for UK travellers?
Meanwhile, there are also questions about the Maldives after a state of emergency was declared last month following demonstrations over the imprisonment of the country’s main opposition leader on terror charges. While officials claim there’s no threat to resort security and the Maldives remained a safe destination, the islands have been plagued by political unrest for many years now.
What about the Caribbean? The rise of Chikungunya Fever, a mosquito-borne virus which first appeared in Africa in the 1950s and has now had a major impact across the Caribbean, may be seen as a deal-breaker. While the situation has been improving, Chikungunya Fever has certainly had an impact on the tourism sector across the region.
Just where then is it safe for the festive traveller? Should they consider a truly Christmas themed holiday in outer Lapland to ensure virtual peace of mind?
The simple answer is that while nowhere is completely safe – travellers must accept a degree of risk wherever they travel – few places on earth are also perpetually dangerous. Those destinations which are of significant concern are highlighted (and should be checked) through trustworthy sources including the Foreign Office website.
While it’s also best to exercise a sensible level of caution whenever travelling, the benefits tend to overwhelmingly outweigh the risks.
• Andrew Newton is head of corporate travel at Colpitts World Travel