After recent research has revealed that young visitors to Phuket were more likely to buy gifts for their hosts than take out travel insurance policies, the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office, FCO, has advised British expats to encourage their guests to take out such policies before travelling to Phuket.
The survey, conducted during February and March by Opinion Matters at the request of the FCO, interviewed 4,647 UK adults (aged 18 and over) regarding their past and present travel plans. It was revealed that 63 percent of those between ages 16 and 24 bought gifts for those they were visiting overseas, whether friends or family, whereas only 55 percent took out travel insurance. 77 percent of those travelling abroad on visits stated that opting out of insurance was a money saving decision.
However, the FCO reminded travellers that choosing not to take insurance may lead to financial difficulties in the event that medical treatment is needed or any possessions are lost. In fact, the survey indicated that approximately 39% of British nationals had to rely on their hosts for problems ranging from hospitalisations during illness to actual financial help.
According to Michael Hancock, head of the consular team at the British Embassy in Bangkok, “when visiting friends or family regularly, it is often natural to feel at ease with the destination and be less prepared than when going on holidays. However, things can rapidly take unpleasant turns and place people in sensitive situations in the absence of travel insurance cover.”
The British honorary consul in Phuket, Martin Carpenter, also added that “the figures from the survey speak for themselves, but the situation is the same for the entire world, not only for Phuket. I will always advise my friends to take out travel insurance, it is essential.”