We all love a good getaway, but as our guest poster, Bessie Hassan, writes in this guest piece, not every destination is welcoming tourists with open arms.
It’s an undisputed fact that Australians love going on holiday. However, ABS figures suggest that we’re travelling overseas to dangerous locations, including Middle Eastern countries like Afghanistan, Yemen and Iraq, despite government travel warnings.
So what can you do to ensure that your customers aren’t heading overseas unprepared?
Know the countries on the “do not travel” list
It’s important to regularly check Smartraveller so that you’re up-to-date on the status of certain locations.
Even somewhere notoriously safe like England is subject to fluctuations (for example, last week it was listed as “exercise a high degree of caution” but it’s now been changed to “exercise normal safety precautions”) and different events can trigger a change at any time.
Regularly checking government warnings is a good idea so that you can give your customers the best advice for their trip.
Here is a list of countries with regions listed as “do not travel” (as of June 2017):
- Central African Republic
- The Democratic Republic of Congo
- South Sudan
Make sure travellers know the dangers
If a customer approaches you and has their heart set on travelling somewhere against government advice, make sure that they are aware of the issues that could occur. It’s likely that they will appreciate the assistance and won’t be dismayed by your advice.
While you can’t provide legal advice, it’s still a good idea to educate them on the dangers they could face. Whether it’s an uncertain or volatile political climate, a high crime rate or even dangerous weather, be sure that they’re aware of the risks before you assist them with booking their trip.
It’s always a good idea to encourage customers to take out an insurance policy before they travel, but there are a few things in particular that they should know.
Although you can technically take out a travel insurance policy for most destinations around the world, when it comes time to claim, you probably won’t be eligible to receive reimbursement in a country with an official warning that advises against travel.
However, there are many other countries where there are no official travel warnings, in which you would be eligible for travel insurance that could still be dangerous.
For example, while India is known for its high crime rate, civil unrest and traffic accidents, there is no official travel warning listed against it, so insurers should provide cover for travel there.
Encourage your customers to compare policies online so that they receive the most value and the most comprehensive cover.
Travellers should also be aware that there are other cases in which travel insurance won’t provide cover. Strikes, riots, severe weather conditions, contagious diseases and epidemics, terrorist attacks, war, rebellion and nuclear radioactivity will usually be rendered ineligible for cover.
The most important thing for you to do is know why certain countries are listed as “do not travel” or “reconsider your need to travel” so that you can provide more context for your customers.
It’s not helpful for you to tell them it’s dangerous, but it is helpful for you to show them why. The more you know about the context, the more you will be able to assist your customers in booking their trip in a safe and convenient way. Good luck!