Prague, 19 May 2016 – Given the security situation, Czechs are changing their choice of summer vacation destinations. Related to that is the means of transport chosen. One half of people prefer going on vacation by car. Also the number of people who travel on their own is increasing, and summer vacation is shortening. Travel insurance specialists from ERV Evropská warn that there may be a shortage of accommodation capacity at the most sought-after destinations, i.e., in Bulgaria, Croatia, Italy, and Spain.
Last year, the number of people who preferred travelling by road over the airplane grew by one tenth. Furthermore, the number of Czechs travelling to countries to which air travel is required dropped by one quarter. The trend will probably continue this year. “Many Czechs will rather spend their vacation in the Czech Republic and in Europe because of the security situation and the refugee crisis. Hotels are being replaced to a greater degree by bed-and-breakfasts and campgrounds. The drop in interest in African countries and Turkey is already evident, in the order of tens of percent,” says Communications Manager of ERV Evropská pojišťovna Vlastimil Divoký.
Also, people are postponing their purchases of travel packages until the last minute, wanting to decide on the basis of the situation at the time of their travel. Two thirds of Czechs will spend no more than a week on their vacation abroad. The number of people travelling without going through a travel agency is increasing. Last year, 58% of Czechs travelled on their own, this year, the number will be higher yet. “A shortage of places to stay may be a problem. European tour operators have responded to client interest and are buying up hotels at popular destinations en masse. People travelling on their own may not be able to find any accommodation,” warns Vlastimil Divoký.
Traditionally, Egypt is in first place in terms of the number of claims made (injuries per 1,000 tourists), the number of insured events sustained there is 40% higher than in Bulgaria, which is second, and twice that of Turkey, which comes third. Gastroenteritidis accounts for one quarter of medical expenses and diseases of the upper respiratory track for one eighth. Changes in destinations bring new risks.
Croatia – Czechs often do not pay sufficient attention to drinking enough and underestimate fatigue on long car trips to Croatia. Most people drive there through the night, and many get into accidents caused by microsleep. Frequent injuries also occur in the mountains to which hikers set out not having sufficient equipment. Frequent are foot injuries caused by stepping on urchins.
Spain – According to ERV Evropská pojišťovna, Spain has noted the highest year-on-year increase in claim occurrence, by 41%. The country is a paradise for pickpockets; they are especially tricky at tourist destinations. In Mallorca, they mask pick-pocketing by selling roses, and in the Canary Islands, you should watch out for immigrants. Last year, ERV Evropská had to deal with several injuries caused to bathers by water scooters. Like in Italy, the number of accidents on scooters on roads is increasing. They are cheap to rent and collisions are frequent in the heavy traffic on local roads.
Bulgaria – The hit among this year’s summer vacation destinations is the affordable Bulgaria. A shortage of accommodation capacity can be expected. “In Bulgaria, most problems involve digestive disorders and allergy to the sun. We recommend that all tourists keep strict hygienic standards and do not purchase food and drinks at street stands,” says Vlastimil Divoký.
Number of claims increasing, most reported in July
Overall, ERV Evropská paid out about 30% more in claimed damage last year than the year before. The average claim amount has not changed, it is roughly CZK 8,600. What is changing, however, is claim composition. For the first time in the insurance company''s history, trip cancellation claims were higher than medical expenses. People cancelled their trips en masse. Nearly one fifth (18%) of all claims were reported by tourists in July. “Illnesses and injuries sustained by children account for one quarter of all medical expense claims. The most expensive was the treatment of seniors aged over 70. On average, it costs 5.5 times more than that of children and 3.5 times more than that of adults,” says Vlastimil Divoký from ERV Evropská pojišťovna.
Marketing and Communications Manager
ERV Evropská pojišťovna