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Last Updated: Friday, 25 August 2006, 01:02 GMT 02:02 UK
Britons' holiday problems listed
UK passport
Lost passports are among the main problems reported to consular staff
Lost passports, hospital visits and arrests are among the main problems UK tourists experience on their travels, the Foreign Office has revealed.

It has listed problems encountered in some of the most popular destinations.

In Spain, which had 16m British visits in 2004-2005, there were 4,774 lost passports and 1,663 arrests. There were 41 rapes, and 1,243 people died.

The Foreign Office said some problems were unavoidable, but others could be prevented with better preparation.

The report, called British Behaviour Abroad, lists the 10 countries where Britons required the most consular help in the year to March 2005.

Although some of the incidents people face are unavoidable, many can be prevented with a little planning
Lord Triesman

Spain was the UK's top destination and saw the most instances of consular help - 11,837.

But overall, most Foreign Office assistance was for general advice. In Spain, there were 5,602 cases where general advice was sought.

The US, which had 6.5m visits, was the country about which Britons had the most enquiries, with 7,090 cases where advice was wanted. It also had the most arrests after Spain - 1,460.

After Spain, France had the most deaths, with 294 fatalities among the 15m UK visits.

There were 33 reported rapes in Greece - the highest proportion when the number of visits (3m) were taken into account.

Photocopying passports

The greatest number of lost passports was recorded in Spain, followed by 1,370 in the US, 1,237 in Germany and 983 in Italy.

A survey by the Home Office's Identity and Passport Service released on the same day found Britons took better care of their MP3 players, jewellery and mobile phones than their passports.

In the online poll of 1,064 adult passport holders only 22% said they kept their passport locked away, but 28% said they locked away iPods, jewellery and other valuables.

Meanwhile, a survey of more than 1,000 adults accompanying the Foreign Office report suggested 62% had never taken a photocopy of their passport.

It also indicated 18% of women had experienced a situation abroad where they have felt uncomfortable or threatened sexually and 21% felt more vulnerable to rape or sexual assault.

The Foreign Office advises travellers to take photocopies of their passports, get insurance cover and make themselves aware of the local environment and laws.

"Falling sick, being a victim of crime or dealing with a misfortune affecting yourself or your family can be traumatic enough under any circumstances," said Foreign and Commonwealth Office Minister, Lord Triesman.

"When they happen abroad they can be even more difficult, complicated and expensive to resolve...

"Although some of the incidents people face are unavoidable, many can be prevented with a little planning and careful preparation."


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