The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has launched its Plan.Pack.Explore. travel guide for people planning to journey abroad. The guide is described as the authoritative guide for young holidaymakers, suggesting that young people need to consider all-inclusive packages.
The FCO is encouraging gap year planners to pick up a copy of the guide to help them avoid running into problems abroad that can be prevented. It contains a lot of information – from health advice to an explanation of what the agency can and can’t do if holidaymakers get in trouble; as well as advice to get the right visa and keeping money safe, handy maps and case studies.
The Know Before You Go campaign’s Khalida Cox says that, now with exam results out, people are beginning to consider a gap year. Preparations can be tedious for young people and parents – especially if it’s the first time going on a trip without the family. Their Plan.Pack.Explore. guide helps holidaymakers understand what they have to do before they travel and gives parents essential information in the run-up to a big break. It can also be an invaluable part of a last-minute trip for people who need to prepare fast.
Cox added that gap years should be about exploring the world, enhancing a student’s CV and having fun. However, things can go very wrong for those who aren’t properly prepared. Statistics show that one in four of young travellers between the ages of 16 and 24 have taken a trip without insurance over the last six months. Additionally, only 25% made preparations in relation to health before going abroad. This has left them at risk of facing high medical or repatriation bills.
Despite the overall good amount of information in the Plan.Pack.Explore. guide, Tourism Concern has condemned the advice. This is a non-industry based, independent UK charity that fights exploitation in the tourism industry. It says all-inclusive resorts don’t bring much benefit to travellers or the host community.
According to research firm Mintel, there was about a 33% increase in the number of all-inclusive holidays booked from 2004 to 2009. Many families like the idea, as it helps control their spending while they travel. At the same time, travel companies make more money from all-inclusive customers than self-catering travellers.
Tourism Concern executive director Mark Watson is cited saying that the all-inclusive model is the least beneficial to local communities. Host communities usually resent tourists who book all-inclusive, as they don’t contribute to the economy. On top of this, travel involves the cultural exchange that young people seek, and this is inhibited by an all-inclusive holiday. These breaks create ‘enclave tourism’ in the Caribbean, which has held back the development of other tourism models. Workers there often have poor rights and don’t get holidays.
However, a spokesman for the FCO said that the advice on managing money is intended to urge people to think about which kind of holiday will fit their budget best. It doesn’t support all-inclusive holidays or any other kinds of breaks. The message simply encourages travellers to consider all their options.Author's Google+ page