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People and Politics Forum 25. 07. 2008

"Do you take risks while travelling?"

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More information:

Travel Alert - How Can Kidnappings Be Prevented?

The three German mountaneers captured by PKK rebels on Mount Ararat are once again free. But it probably won't be the last hostage crisis involving German tourists and the German Foreign Ministry. Although the ministry regularly publishes travel information on its website for people considering foreign travel, specific warnings are seldom issued. But just how seriously do travel agents and tourists intent on exploring countries like Mali, Yemen or Turkey actually take foreign ministry advice?

Our Question is:

"Do you take risks while travelling?"

In Thailand, Khun York, writes:

"If the German foreign ministry declares certain countries unsafe, then one should heed these warnings and avoid these countries."

Dorothea Well, in Ghana, comments:

"It's important to know what kind of hazards. If we are talking about health hazards, then I would not be willing to take risks...and I wouldn't take life-threatening risks either, especially if I knew about them beforehand. If I have to travel to an unsafe country I would try to minimise the dangers. Life itself is full of risks and you can't exclude them completely.I know that driving a car can be dangerous but does that mean I would never drive one? No, but I would try and keep the risk as small as possible."

Martin Burmeister, in Venezuela, has a similar view:

"Warnings should be listened to. Those who nevertheless travel to such regions should state their willingness to shoulder all the costs"

Herbert Fuchs, in Finland, is exasperated:

"I simply do not understand how such holiday adventurers can go to countries where it's clear from the outset that the situation is more than just restless and that foreigners can always become targets. They are totally blue-eyed holidaymakers with no inner sense of what might go wrong and who provoke danger and are beyond good advice - and then they expect the German embassies to work miracles."

Frieder von Sass, in Thailand, says:

"The risk of an accident while driving is far higher the world over than the possibility of being abducted or being injured or losing ones life in an attack, Those who can't face such risks presented by life should stay at home - and preferably leave their car in the garage."

And this from Rolf Bockmühl in the Philippines:

"There's always a certain risk when you travel to exotic countries. In the 80s, I was on the road in Cuba, northern Africa and what was then Ceylon (now Sri Lanka). None of these places were seen as very safe, but we adapted to the local mentality and used a so-called alternative travel guide (no Internet those days) and had some very interesting and informative holidays...Here in the Philippines I also have to avoid certain districts. It's tough when you are travelling."

Tough maybe, but enjoy yourself, says Darya Zavyalova, in Russia:

"Actually, I feel sorry for the world that we live in. It seems to me that nowadays everything is dangerous and you take risks whatever you do. But if you live with the idea that this is risky, that is bad, you should stay in your bedroom without switching on the TV because there can be short circuit. Without eating, because you can choke, and so on and so forth. So, let's travel without bad ideas thinking only about good impressions and for-good memories."

Similar views from René Junghans, in Brazil:

"I think travel warnings are useless. If you listen to all these warnings then there's no point in travelling anywhere.You can get kidnapped or robbed in Rio, Mali, Turkey, Yemen etc, and what about being beaten to death by Turks in the Munich metro?

...I say if you use your common sense, you can enjoy your travels, no matter whereto. The rules I observe: dress simply, keep your head down, don't talk loudly in your language, no camera dangling round your neck, and money and travel documents well hidden on your body, and no strolls down dark streets. That'll do the trick and you'll enjoy your holidays despite growing dangers."

The People and Politics desk reserves the right to edit and abbreviate texts.