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Helsinki for holidays if you are safety conscious

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The newly released 2018 Travel Risk Map reveals threat levels across the globe in three categories – medical, security and road safety.

Produced by security specialists International SOS, the charted risks across the three categories shows that Finland is the safest place on the planet.

Also listed as ‘low’ threats for medical concern are Norway, Sweden as well as much of western Europe, the US, Canada and Australia.

International SOS say that their Medical Risk Ratings are determined by their assessment of a range of health risks and mitigating factors including: infectious diseases, environmental factors, medical evacuation data, the standard of available local emergency medical and dental care, access to quality pharmaceutical supplies, and cultural, language or administrative barriers.

Group Medical Director of Health Intelligence for International SOS Dr Doug Quarry said that there is an increased understanding of preventative agendas in medical and travel risk mitigation, however organisations need to do more to strategically support their travelling staff.

“A staggering 91 per cent of organisations have potentially not included their travel risk program in their overall business sustainability program and 90 per cent are seemingly ignoring the impact a wellbeing policy could have on their travelling workforce,” Dr Quarry said.

The Scandinavian countries also perform well for road safety, possessing a ‘very low’ risk of a road traffic accident. Countries that Australians visit in significant numbers that have a ‘high’ road risk include Thailand and South Africa.

Unfortunately the number of Australians who died while travelling overseas rose past 1600 last financial year according to the Australian Government’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT).

DFAT updates their travel advice to countries continuously and urges any Australian travelling overseas to register on the DFAT’s Smart Traveller website. This will allow the government to immediately alert Australians of any changes to the situation and know where Australians were if an evacuation was necessary.

Travel insurance remains an area of concern for Australian consular officials. Travellers without travel insurance are personally liable for covering any medical and associated costs they incur. The Australian Government won’t pay for your medical treatment overseas or medical evacuation to Australia or a third country.

The latest survey results undertaken by DFAT that looks at how Australians use travel insurance reveals Australians are not adequately using travel insurance, especially when it came to cruises. Half (48 per cent) of recent cruise goers who took out insurance were exposed to the risk of being unknowingly uninsured. This was a combination of those (38 per cent) who took out a general travel insurance policy that may not have adequately covered them for a cruise, and / or those (30 per cent) who were not certain that their travel insurance covered them for all countries their cruise liner visited.

The Australian Government provides regularly updated travel advice to all Australians at http://smartraveller.gov.au/Pages/default.aspx.

MEREDITH HORNE

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