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Last Updated: Thursday, 20 March 2008, 03:26 GMT
Over-55s 'causing holiday havoc'
Beach in Benalmadena on the Spanish Costa Del Sol
The Foreign Office is warning of drowning tragedies
Older British holidaymakers are causing the sort of trouble normally associated with the younger generation, the Foreign Office has said.

Over-55s are endangering their health by drinking too much alcohol and trying out dangerous sports such as bungee jumping on overseas trips, it warns.

Excessive drinking has led to abusive behaviour from some fifty-somethings, according to the Foreign Office.

Over-eating and over-drinking has also resulted in drownings, it added.

The Foreign Office said recent surveys showed 20% of 55-plus holidaymakers try activities they would not contemplate at home.

In addition, nearly two in three admitted not taking out travel insurance on their last trip overseas, and more than half of older holidaymakers drink more alcohol abroad than they would in the UK.

'Tragedy'

HAVE YOUR SAY
When on holiday, people will feel more relaxed and don't tend to think about the consequences.
Malcolm, UK

Rania Kossiori, British vice-Consul in Rhodes, Greece, said: "Most problems we see with the older generation of Brits arise from over-consumption of alcohol and food.

"Drinking and staying too long in the sun can make you ill, and undertaking strenuous activity like going swimming or snorkelling after a large meal can put you in unnecessary danger. People have drowned this way."

She went on: "After one too many drinks people can become abusive, for example shouting at resort staff.

"We've also had instances where a few too many drinks has led older guests to over-estimate their strength, for example going swimming in bad weather conditions, which has ended in tragedy."

Foreign Office Minister Meg Munn said: "The Foreign Office is all for over-55s having fun on holiday, but it is crucial they make some simple preparations to help avoid encountering difficulties whilst abroad.

"Acquiring adequate travel insurance is a must, and health scares abroad can be avoided by visiting a GP and having a health check before embarking on a holiday."

Saga, a holiday company catering for older people, said: "It's a misnomer that only the young can have new experiences on holiday or take part in exciting and often rigorous activities.

"Just because you're over 50 does not mean you have to put your surf-board into storage or hang up your salopettes."



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