Rise in hols safety fears

Visitors wait in line to be fingerprinted and photographed at the U.S. Customs check point at San Francisco International Airport in San Francisco Monday, Jan. 5, 2003. Officials began using the US-VISIT system on Monday to scan fingerprints and take photographs of arriving foreigners as part of a program aimed at preventing and trapping possible terrorists. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Visitors wait in line to be fingerprinted and photographed at the U.S. Customs check point at San Francisco International Airport in San Francisco Monday, Jan. 5, 2003. Officials began using the US-VISIT system on Monday to scan fingerprints and take photographs of arriving foreigners as part of a program aimed at preventing and trapping possible terrorists. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
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With the holiday season just weeks away, a new survey of over 1,000 travellers for leading car hire comparison site Carrentals.co.uk has found growing concern over safety issues, with one third of respondents more concerned about security now than they were a year ago.

The survey found that terrorism is the biggest safety concern for travellers, with over 40% worried about terrorist attacks. Over 61% of respondents said if they saw a bag by itself at an airport they would report it immediately, while a further 30% would report it if it was still there after 30 minutes.

Other safety concerns of respondents included being robbed (27%), a flight crashing (23%), an illness outbreak (18.5%), accommodation safety (18%) and being physically attacked (13.5%).

However, nearly 1 in 5 also said they had felt threatened or intimidated by passport control/security at an airport, with the survey told of body searches, lengthy questioning – even at gun point, and intimidating behaviour, with countries including the USA, Russia, Thailand, Greece and Hungary highlighted.

More than 1 in 10 of those questioned said they had experienced a serious safety incident on their travels, with researchers told of physical attacks with weapons, car and bus crashes, aircraft fires, car jackings and terrorist attacks.

Safety concerns mean travellers are taking a range of measures, with over 74% saying they respect local traditions in terms of dress and behaviour, while two thirds said they don’t wear expensive jewellery, watches or clothing to avoid drawing attention to themselves.

Over 50% of travellers now write down details of their credit card and passport numbers, while 41% check travel advice from the Foreign Office, and 28% wear a money belt. 2% also take a carbon monoxide detector with them for their accommodation.

Gareth Robinson, managing director, said: “Security concerns aren’t stopping us travelling, but they are perhaps making us more cautious about where we travel and what we do while there.”