Fatal attraction The young Australians who are in the sand
Australians are awestruck by the around the world. In 2011, more than 7.5 million Australians (or more than a third of Australians) traveled outside of the nation. Of course, many Australian tourists abroad enjoy enjoyable trips that are free of risks or accidents. However, occasionally, they make the news for the most unsavory motives – they die because of a mishap or become victims of robbery, violent crimes, or overdoses in drugs or due to drunken violence or accidents.
Three young Australians have been killed in Laos, a generally tranquil destination that is popular with backpackers looking for an adventure off the beaten track. Another Melbourne teenager just barely avoided death.
Two deaths occurred due to accidents that occurred during “tubing” in which people floating on an inflatable inner tube of tyres attempt to cross rivers, frequently drinking at bars by the river on the way. A lot of tubers do to ignore sharp rocks, rapid drops, or swirling pools. Local tour operators don’t provide safety clothes or head protection for tubers who are in the treacherous waterways.
So, how do you stop young travelers from engaging in this risk-taking conduct?
For Australians of all ages and especially for those who are young, taking risks is considered as an essential aspect of travel. The great American journalist Ernest Hemmingway has inspired adventurers all over the globe with his tales of traveling on the edge.
Tubing is a very favored and risky activity for travelers who visit Vang Vieng, Laos. Flickr/JonasPhoto
Every year, thousands of young Hemmingway-inspired youngsters travel toward Pamplona in Spain to participate in an annual ” running of the bulls“. Australians make up a significant portion of their ranks as well as among those who are able to feel the harshness of the bull’s horn often, which can have fatal consequences.
Also, in February, thousands of teenagers Australians are gathered at an annual Full Moon Party which is held on Koh Phangan. Thai Island of Koh Phangan at which they are enticed, even the organisers are urging them to consume buckets of liquor at a cost of about three dollars per bucket. The alcoholic “party” frequently descends into fights with alcohol and watery misadventure.
Risking it all abroad, completely free from the shackles of their parents, is viewed as an “rite of passage” for certain young Australians who travel to other countries.
The risk involved can vary from binge drinking to base jumping, drugs climbing, sexual promiscuity, and mountaineering to visiting the crime-ridden areas of shady foreign cities.
But taking these risks can be dangerous and costly for the governments helping travelers with problems.
This year’s Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade annual report provides some interesting facts. From the period of 01 July 2010 – June 2011, DFAT took care of 313 detained and imprisoned Australians abroad, 1203 Australian who were admitted to hospitals abroad, 12,899 people missing, and responded to more than 24,000 requests from people who suffered grief or loss while on holiday.
The taxpayers gave loans of $325,000 to more than 300 Australians who needed financial aid while they were abroad, the majority of which was to pay for the cost of repatriation.
Not so Smartravellers
Paula Ganly, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s (DFAT) Assistant Secretary for the Consular Policy Branch, explained at a UN World Tourism Organisation conference in September 2011 that the DFAT’s Smartraveller campaign aimed to reduce and reduce the dependence on Australian tourists on consular assistance using three main strategies.
The tubing experience in Laos is more risky than you think. Flickr/Ivars Krutainis
The first one was to encourage travelers to get travel insurance. The second was to urge Australians to record and plan their trips via Smartraveller. Smartraveller web site and the third to motivate travelers to examine the information available on the site about the destination they plan to visit.
Although the DFAT strategy may make sense to experienced travelers, risk-takers aren’t more likely to file their travel intentions with the government than their parents. DFAT’s study has proved this.
Check the fine print.
Laurie Ratz, from the Insurance Council of Australia, spoke at the same conference that some types of behavior are not covered by insurance. A thorough review of all policy documents for travel will indicate that the majority of travel insurance providers will not cover claims made by policy owners whose injuries or deaths result from drinking heavily and drug use or from accidents that occur while engaging in unorganized sporting activities that pose a high risk.