Page last updated at 12:26 GMT, Tuesday, 25 August 2009 13:26 UK

Figures highlight holiday hazards

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Foreign Office Minister Chris Bryant says there are many precautions travellers can take before they go on holiday

British travellers have been urged to use common sense abroad, as annual Foreign Office figures showed almost 7,000 were arrested over 12 months.

Of 6,919 arrests, 991 were for drugs offences, overseas incidents figures for April 2008 to last March showed.

Spain, the most popular destination with 17 million visitors, saw the most arrests of Britons - 2,290.

The Foreign Office said knowing "local laws and customs before you travel could avoid time in a foreign jail".

Foreign Office minister Chris Bryant said it was not for the state to be people's "mummy or daddy... holding their hand" on holiday.

But he urged "common sense" precautions such as avoiding drugs, taking necessary medication or being vaccinated, and wearing helmets while riding mopeds.

Spain witnessed the highest number of Britons taken to hospital - 741.

This is equivalent to one in every 23,000 visitors to Spain, while there were higher proportions of hospital attendances in less popular destinations.

Thailand saw 198 Britons taken to hospital from 812,000 visitors (about one in 4,000); Greece - 433 from 3 million visitors (one in 7,000); Egypt - 97 from 1.2 million (one in 12,000), and India saw 52 from 734,000 visitors (one in 14,000).

Mr Bryant said: "Getting comprehensive travel insurance means that whilst an accident may disrupt your holiday, it won't bankrupt you in extortionate medical or repatriation bills.

"The message is clear - have a great time while you're away, but make the necessary preparations before you go."

Lost passports

The British Behaviour Abroad report, based on information from consular offices around the globe, said 22 people were facing capital charges for crimes, some of which could lead to the death penalty.

Britons reported 116 rapes - 28 in Greece and 22 in Spain - and 154 sexual assaults.

Lost or stolen passports were the most frequently reported problem, with 29,774 cases worldwide.

Out of 6.5 million British visitors to the US last year, there were 1,534 arrests.

But Britons were most likely to get arrested in the United Arab Emirates, where there were 294 detentions from 1.1 million visits, followed by Thailand and the US.

The Foreign Office highlighted that topless sunbathing, swearing and public displays of affection could lead to arrest in some countries.



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Minister warns of holiday risks
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