Brits abroad: No improvement

By Ian Dunt

The latest Foreign Office report on the behaviour of Brits abroad has revealed what those returning from holiday already know: there has been no improvement.

The report, which is published each year to help the Foreign Office allocate its resources effectively, shows Spain is still the centre of British misbehaviour.

Just under 5,500 Brits needed consular assistance in Spain in the period between April 2008 and March 2009.

A total of 2,290 Britons were arrested in Spain last year, significantly more than any other country. The country was also the location for the highest number of hospitalisations, with 741 Brits needing attention.

“The report highlights just how many British nationals encounter difficulties whilst abroad,” Foreign Office minister Chris Bryant said.

“Helping those who do get into trouble is a vital part of our job, but so many of the problems we deal with can be avoided with a little bit of preparation.”

There were 1,534 British arrests in the USA, 2,446 passports were lost or stolen in Australia and 433 Britons were hospitalised in Greece.

As a proportion of the number of visitors, Britons were having considerable trouble in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Nearly 300 Brits were arrested in the country last year. The Foreign Office is also encouraging Brits to be cautious when sunbathing topless, swearing or displaying affection in public.

“The message is clear – have a great time while you’re away, but make the necessary preparations before you go,” Mr Bryant urged.

Lost or stolen passports remain the most frequent problem encountered by British tourists with 29,774 reported incidents worldwide.