Travel Law: Avoid dangerous vacations 2017

Travel Law: Avoid dangerous vacations 2017

Travel Law: Avoid dangerous vacations 2017

Planning a vacation? Please consider, among other things, your planned destination and the incidence of criminal activity, terrorism and disease in the local environment as well as the nature and type of accidents which tourists have previously sustained running the spectrum from wrongful death to slip, trips and falls. This is the fifth year that we have posted dangerous destination information collected from news articles and reported law cases.

The Safest Destinations

In D’Ambrosio, Peace Index Rates The Safest Destinations, travelmarketreport (6/20/2016) it was noted that “Iceland, Denmark and Austria are the three safest countries in the world. That’s the finding of this year’s Global Peace Index (GPI) published annually by the Institute of Economic and Peace. The study rates 163 countries based on 23 factors, including violent crime, political terror, import/export of weapons, refugee influx and violent demonstrations. Rounding out the Top Ten peaceful destinations are New Zealand, Portugal, the Czech Republic, Switzerland, Canada, Japan and Slovenia”.

2017 Survey: Safe & Unsafe Destinations

In Holiday destinations Brits fear most, (1/27/2017) it was noted that “Turkey has become one of the world’s most popular countries to visit for holidaymakers but terrorism and the war in Syria has frightened Brits recently and now more than one in four of us believe it to be the world’s most unsafe travel destination…Turkey tops the list as the most unsafe holiday destination (27%) followed by Egypt (18%) and Tunisia in third…France was recognized as Europe’s most unsafe country…Brits feel most safe deciding on the ‘staycation’ (26%) but for those travelling abroad, Spain remains a firm favorite with 20% feeling the most secure whilst on holiday there. Neighboring Portugal came in fifth as the safest destination behind Canada in third and surprisingly the United States…in fourth”.

The Greatest Threats, Indeed

In Friedman, Islamic State and Climate Change Seen as World’s Greatest Threats, Poll Says, nytimes (8/1/2017) it was noted that “Climate change is essentially tied with the Islamic State as the most-feared security threat across much of the world-except in the United States, where cyberattacks are considered a greater danger than global warming according to a Pew Research Center report released on Tuesday. Residents of 13 countries ranked climate change as the greatest threat to national security while in 17 countries the Islamic State was considered a more immediate problem”.

European Travel Alert Extended

In US extends European travel alert: ‘Terrorists focus on tourist sites as attack targets, eturbonews (9/2/2017) it was noted that “The alert, issued Thursday, cites ‘widely reported incidents’ in France, Russia, Sweden, the United Kingdom, Spain and Finland, adding that the State Department ‘remains concerned about the potential for future terrorist attacks’. It goes on to state that extremists are continuing to focus on ‘tourist locations, transportation hubs, markets/ shopping malls and local government facilities as viable targets”.

After Las Vegas: Hotel Security Choices

In Hsu, Las Vegas Shooting Underscores Hotel Security Choices, nytimes (10/2/2017) it was noted that “Before a gunman killed more than 50 people in Las Vegas on Sunday, the police said he brought an arsenal of rifles past security and up to his 32nd floor room in the Mandalay Bay hotel. That the shooter…was able to take at least 17 firearms and hundreds of rounds of ammunition up to a room starkly highlights the security priorities of hospitality companies. Wishing to appear inviting to guests, many hotels employ a lighter touch. Security in most hotels instead focuses on limiting theft, corralling unruly drunks and ferreting out people wandering the halls without a room, said Mr. Segal, a security consultant for an executive protection company, AS Solution. Hotels in the United States and Europe have been ‘much slower on the uptake’ regarding the chances of violence, compared in the Middle East and Africa… Explosive scanners and X-ray machines-standard equipment at airport terminals-will continue to be scarce in hotels because of the enormous premium that customers place on their privacy, said Jim Stover, a senior vice president of the real estate and hospitality practice at the Arthur J. Gallagher & Co., an insurance brokerage”.

ISIS Strategy

In Callimachi, Not ‘Lone Wolves’ After All: How ISIS Guides World’s Terror Plots From Afar, nytimes (2/4/2017) it was noted that “remotely guided plots in Europe, Asia and the United States in recent years, including the attack on a community center in Garland, Tex., were initially labeled the work of ‘lone wolves’ with no operational ties to the Islamic State, and only later was direct communication with the group discovered. While the trail of many of these plots led back to planners living in Syria, the very nature of the group’s method of remote plotting means there is little dependence on its maintaining a safe haven there or in Iraq. And visa restrictions and airport security mean little to attackers who strike where they live and no longer have to travel abroad for training”.

Terror News Reports

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In Shane, Is News of Terror Attacks Underplayed? Experts Say No, nytimes (2/7/2017) it was noted that “Margaret Thatcher famously declared that ‘we must try to find ways to starve the terrorist and the hijacker of the oxygen of publicity on which they depend’…Years of books and articles critiquing the ‘symbiosis’ of terrorism and news media coverage have pointed out that terrorists usually seek to promote a political or ideological cause and spectacular violence with the specific goal of attracting attention. News executives, while sometimes expressing mixed feelings about giving terrorists what they seek, have generally felt obliged to give such attacks ample coverage…In the United States since the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, even failed terrorist plots often have drawn saturation coverage-think of the fizzled so-called underwear bomb on a Detroit-bound airliner in Christmas Day 2009 or the SUV jury-rigged to blow up that produced only smoke in Times Square on a May night in 2010″.

Trip Advisor To Report Sexual Assaults

In Schwartz, TripAdvisor Will Identify Hotels Where Sexual Assaults Occurred, nytimes (11/9/2017) it was noted that “Responding to what one travel expert categorized as ‘a wake-up call’ TripAdvisor has begun placing symbols next to hotels and resorts that have been identified as locations of sexual assaults and other major concerns. Based on news reports as well as comments from the TripAdvisor community, the warnings are designed to identify health, safety and discrimination issues in all of the website’s travel categories, said a company spokesman”.

Health Issues Abroad

As noted in Tourism: 49 percent of the health problems when traveling related to the destination, eturbonews (6/25/2015) “Observatory (TIO) with the support of the World Tourism Organization 49 percent of the health problems affecting tourists and travelers when they visit other countries are related to the county of destination, such as gastrointestinal or respiratory infections. 26 percent of the problems faced by travelers have to do with trauma, especially fractures”.

Air Ambulance Fees

In Thompson, Rising complaints about sky high air ambulance fees, komonews (4/12/2017) it was noted that “In a true emergency, if you call a ground ambulance, your insurance company is likely to pay most of the cost, but insurance companies say air ambulances charge such huge bills, they’re only willing to pay a fraction of the cost, and that means you as the consumer are stuck to pay the rest of the bill. And that cost can be high. Consumer Reports says the average bill for medical helicopters is more than $30,000…Be aware that in many states, including the state of Washington, insurance regulators have no jurisdiction over medical air transport companies. A federal law passed in 1978 prohibits states from regulating price, routes or service of air ambulance operators”.

Foreign Foods That Can Kill You

In Morse, 5 Foreign Foods That Can Kill You (But You Should Eat Anyway), smartertravel (1/30/2015) it was noted “How far are you willing to go to enjoy a rare delicacy? These foreign foods aren’t just delicious-they’re also potentially deadly! …Fugu. Just a sliver of ill-prepared fugu fish can send you into paralysis, swiftly followed by death. But if it’s prepared correctly, it’s delicious…Sannakji. Like your food tortured and eaten alive? The you’ll love wriggling octopus, the food that fights back. The small octopus’s legs are cut off while still alive-and then the still-moving limbs are offered up to diners. Chew carefully, as the suction cups on the thrashing tentacles can stick to the inside of your throat…Bitter Cassava. This shrub, native to South America, is a good source of carbohydrates-but also a good source of cyanide…If the bitter cassava isn’t properly soaked and dried, it can contain enough poison to kill you…Giant Bullfrog. Ever looked at a seven-foot-wide bullfrog…Carefully check the calendar if you’re contemplating eating this Namibian delicacy. These giants are only safe to eat after mating season or the third rain of the year, after the frog is mature enough to start croaking. If you eat it at the wrong time of the year…you could suffer kidney failure…Ackee. Ackee, the national fruit of Jamaica is literally a forbidden fruit…When the ackee is unripe, it is full of poison and potentially deadly to eat”. Enjoy.

Organization Of This Treatise

The information in this treatise is categorized by region, types of accidents and by country and includes some discussions about liability theories, personal jurisdiction, forum non conveniens and choice of law. Included in these misadventures is a section on Behaving Yourself while abroad and being arrested for failing to respect local customs and traditions.

For a complete country-by-country analysis, click here.

tom dickerson

The author, Thomas A. Dickerson, is a retired Associate Justice of the Appellate Division, Second Department of the New York State Supreme Court and has been writing about Travel Law for 41 years including his annually updated law books, Travel Law, Law Journal Press (2016), Litigating International Torts in U.S. Courts, Thomson Reuters WestLaw (2016), Class Actions: The Law of 50 States, Law Journal Press (2016) and over 400 legal articles many of which are available at For additional travel law news and developments, especially, in the member states of the EU see

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