Prague, 19 May 2016 – Before the start of the summer season, ERV Evropská pojišťovna analysed the security risks in Egypt, Tunisia, Turkey, and Greece, using information from its Euro-Center network, from embassies and tourism headquarters. Its Guide to a Safe Vacation provides Czechs with an overview of the current situation and measures at the most sought-after tourist destinations. In spite of terrorist attacks, Czech tourists travel to those places, although less than in previous years.
“The guide focuses primarily on enhancing existing security measures and introducing new ones, both in the transport of tourists and during their stay at the destination concerned,” says Director of Sales and Marketing Ondřej Rušikvas in describing the guide.
Before you set out on a trip, we recommend checking the current situation at your destination through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs or through the Czech embassy or consulate. Registration in the DROZD system is recommended, as it gives the MFA a better idea about your whereabouts in a given country. When you travel, you must be prepared to undergo more thorough checks when entering airports, which is why it is necessary to arrive two to three hours prior to your departure time.
When travelling to Islamic countries, you must expect a different local culture and understand that certain things that are commonplace in Europe are unacceptable there. For example expressions of affection in public or speaking loudly are found offensive by the locals. We recommend that women do not reveal too much of their skin and do not wear conspicuous jewellery as it could attract thieves. It is good to be accompanied by a man in public.
What to avoid and what to do if a problem occurs?
Do not set out on “solo” trips without a guide and security guards by any means. If you encounter a military facility, do not photograph it. Avoid large gatherings and mass events. If any difficulties arise or an injury is sustained, contact the emergency and assistance services, local police, and your embassy or consulate in the country. Never give your passport to anyone.
Egypt has approached the internationally renowned company Control Risks, which has developed customised security measures for maximum tourist protection. Armed police officers guard all entrances to and exits from airport and the undercarriages of all vehicles headed to the airport are checked with a detector of explosives. The same measures apply at all hotels.
There are dozens police checkpoints on the roads staffed by armed officers, checking vehicles that pass through. Local authorities have boosted the number of security cameras at the Hurgada and Sharm ash-Shaich resorts manifold. Records from some of the cameras are newly available on-line even for foreigners to watch.
There are increased checks at hotel entrances. Tourists must show a hotel card or a wristband. Police teams are guarding not only hotels, but also conduct random checks at beaches. Many undercover police officers are present in locales frequented by tourists. “According to our information, the government of Egypt has purchased hundreds of walk-through metal detectors and at resorts, it has boosted the number of security force members and dogs trained to search for explosives," says Ondřej Rušikvas in describing the introduction of security measures.
The security forces have an additional 3,000 new members guarding airports, hotels, restaurants, beaches, and major monuments. Maximum security measures apply at all those places. Increased checks are being performed at airports of all passengers using the airport for transferring. Security guards conduct random checks of passengers across airports. Hundreds of cameras continuously monitor airports, adjoining parking lots as well as roads leading to hotel resorts. Police officers and soldiers are patrolling resorts as well as the areas around them, and check the undercarriages of vehicles with mirrors. Trained hotel staff thoroughly checks vacant rooms, tourists’ bags as well as any packages addressed to their hotels. Security guards accompany tourists on trips, making sure their transport is safe. The government has purchased camera systems, detectors, and alarms. These measures must be in operation 24 hours a day and they are checked on a daily basis by trained staff of the particular tourist facility.
At Turkish airports, people must pass through an identity and baggage check before entering the concourse. They must undergo the same procedure again when boarding their aircraft. Security in Turkey is ensured by private security guards, police officers, and the army. Hotel facilities have boosted their camera surveillance systems as well as their security guards. Everyone who fails to provide proof of identity at a hotel is conducted out of the hotel by the staff.
Most worries concerning the security situation in Greece are based on poor knowledge of geography. Problems with immigrants only concern five islands: Lesbos, Kos, Samos, Chios, and Leros. The number of immigrants has been decreasing rapidly due to the EU agreement with Turkey, which is a fundamental prerequisite of tourists' interest in Greece. Those who still are on those islands are fully isolated from tourists at hotspots or detention facilities. Demand for vacations in Greece is growing rapidly, which is evident in increasing prices.
Current information at your fingertips with the My Evropská mobile application and the VIP Online portal
The My Evropská mobile application is a tool for quick communication with clients. In it, a client has comprehensive information about his policy, his personal documents, as well as the contact information of the assistance service. Through the application, the insurance company can inform clients right away about newly developing situations or risks, ensuring them the best possible support abroad.
Our Guide to a Safe Vacation will be regularly updated through the VIP – Voyager Information Portal operated by the ERV group. The system provides current security, geopolitical, and medical information about countries around the world. ERV Evropská makes it available to its corporate and annual clients. The mobile version of VIP Online can send security notices based on the country and region in which the recipient currently is.
Marketing and Communications Manager
ERV Evropská pojišťovna