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Wednesday, 9 May, 2001, 10:07 GMT 11:07 UK
Holidays can make you ill
beach scene
Exotic destinations could harm your health
People who opt for all inclusive foreign package holidays are more likely to fall ill than independent travellers.

As many as one in five tourists on free food and drinks holidays is taken ill, according to a survey carried out by the Consumers' Association.

Stomach upsets accounted for nearly half of all maladies and were the most likely problem in countries with the worst illness record.

The findings revealed the further holidaymakers travelled, the higher their chances of suffering illness.

Peru had the highest levels of illness reported, with two-thirds of visitors to the South American country becoming unwell.

Nearly half of those who went on trips to Kenya were ill and 41% of those who went on holiday to India were unwell.

Medical advice

Editor of Holiday Which Patricia Yates said: "Remember to seek medical advice well before you travel if you are going on an exotic holiday.

"Also, take common sense precautions, such as eating dishes cooked to order rather than buffet-style food kept lukewarm for hours, to protect yourself against Delhi belly."

The survey found that on all package holidays, 14% of tourists fell ill, compared with 11% who travelled independently.

Tropical holiday destination
Long haul destinations pose greater risk

Holiday Which contacted 60,000 members last August and more than 25,000 responded.

The proportion of members who fell ill has remained fairly steady since 1995 - this time 11% were affected, down 1% from the last survey.

Judith Watson from the Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) said: "Possibly if you are an independent traveller you may have done more research.

"When you go on a package holiday, especially an all inclusive type, you are maybe less aware of what you are eating and drinking because you feel it is all laid on for you."

The study also found

  • 41% of people visiting India became ill

  • 23% of people visiting Turkey became ill

  • Nobody visiting the Sweden or the United Arab Emirates reported any illness

  • The healthiest European destinations were Denmark, Belgium and Poland

    ABTA recommends people check with themselves or the Foreign and Commonwealth Office for information on how to stay healthy while on holiday.

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