FCO and Abta join forces over balcony falls

FCO and Abta join forces over balcony falls

Abta is today (Wednesday) joining forces with the Foreign & Commonwealth Office in a campaign to help prevent falls from hotel balconies in holiday resorts.

Thirteen incidents of young people falling from balconies have been reported so far this year resulting in three deaths. Others have been seriously injured.

There have been nine cases in Majorca and Ibiza, already matching last year’s figures despite only being half way through the summer season.

Most incidents involve young people between the ages of 18 and 35 with alcohol often playing a part.

Young holidaymakers will be handed leaflets which include the story of Jake Evans, 18, from Liverpool, who narrowly survived a fall from a 7th floor balcony last year after drinking too much. He also tells his story in a video, which can be viewed on the FCO’s website and on YouTube, in an attempt to get young people to think twice before they engage in risky behaviour.

The video accompanies a short feature which will be sent to radio stations in the UK.

The FCO and Abta are urging young travellers to:

- Understand the risks – climbing over or jumping off balconies can have serious consequences
- Know their limits – alcohol can impair judgement and hotter climates can often increase the effect of drinking
- Get comprehensive travel insurance, and be prepared if something does go wrong. Figures released in July showed that Spain is the country where most Britons require consular assistance, including 1,105 cases where hospital treatment was needed

Consul in the Balearics Paul Abrey said: “We’ve already seen some tragic cases this summer which have had devastating consequences for the individuals and families concerned.

“This year there’s been a particular spike early on in the holiday season with figures already matching last year’s.

“Some people have fallen whilst climbing to a friend’s apartment, others have simply lost their footing after a few too many drinks and a few have deliberately jumped off aiming for the pool below.

“It should go without saying these practices are extremely dangerous and can cost them their life or leave them permanently disabled.

“Many young people also arrive without travel insurance. The FCO can’t pay medical bills and holidaymakers may end up paying out thousands for medical bills and flights back to the UK.”

Abta head of destinations and sustainability Nikki White said: “Each year too many young people are permanently injured or worse because they’ve tried to climb over or dive off their hotel balcony.

Abta, the Foreign Office and tourist authorities are all working together to help raise awareness of the dangers and prevent these incidents.

“The after-effects are often made even worse through holidaymakers travelling uninsured and parents having to raise large amounts of money to get their children home.

“Our advice aims to help holidaymakers to use their balconies safely and prevent more of these tragic and avoidable incidents.”

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