Important Information for Holidaymakers Travelling to Sri Lanka - Check Your Travel Insurance Cover

HolidayTravelWatch is concerned that intending Holidaymakers travelling to Sri Lanka may be doing so without Travel Insurance Cover. The Organisation provides Guidance and Comment.

We have recently expressed misgivings about travel and insurance advices from tour companies and government agencies.

Since the beginning of the Kenyan crisis, we have been contacted by a number of holidaymakers, ho are concerned as to their safety, and concerned as to the validity of their travel insurance over. Such contacts have raised some very important questions.

We have highlighted the ‘standardised’ advice on travel insurance, within the summary of the FCO advices. We have also noted within their ‘full’ advice that travel consumers should check for exclusions.

Our concern on FCO advices is that, where there is the potential or actual disorder, caused by whatever means, advising holidaymakers to obtain ‘fully comprehensive travel insurance’ could cause confusion to holidaymakers, who may believe that they will receive that cover whilst they are in a potential ‘risk’ destination.

The problems faced by holidaymakers are not just limited to the current Kenyan crisis. It could occur in any destination, which could be classed as a ‘risk’ destination, by reference to ongoing evidence of ‘political’ human or weather activity.

We are concerned to note that many tour operator or travel providers appear, at this time, to be offering holidays to Sri Lanka. The recent Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) Travel Advices paint a grim picture of life on this island. Despite the FCO guarded position, violence and terror attacks on the island have crept below the line created by the FCO, and serious incidents haveoccurred in the south of the island.

Given the experience of holidaymakers to Kenya concerning their travel insurance, it is likely that an insurer would class the situation in Sri Lanka as ‘pre-existing’, and could negate any potential benefit from any Travel Insurance policy.

We would strongly urge any holidaymaker intending to visit Sri Lanka to check with their travel insurer before they travel to ensure that they still have cover. In the event that any intending holidaymaker should discover that they are no longer covered by travel insurance, we would advise that we have formulated an ‘Action Plan for Intending or Existing Holidaymakers’ to ‘risk’ destinations. In the full version of our earlier press release (30.1.08), we guide holidaymakers through important areas, such as, ‘Important Questions for Intending Holidaymakers’; ‘Important Questions for the Travel Insurer’; ‘Important Rights Under The Package Travel Regulations (Significant Changes)’; ‘Remain Calm’; ‘If all else fails, request an Indemnity’; ‘Is your contract frustrated’? and ‘Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act’. We conclude by stating that if these steps fail, then you seek the urgent assistance of a contract law solicitor. We would urge holidaymakers to familiarise themselves with this action plan.

Frank Brehany, the MD of HolidayTravelWatch states:

“As with the people of Kenya, my sympathy goes out to the people of Sri Lanka. I can only hope that one day peace will return to their land and that they will enjoy the benefits that surely flow from tourism”.

He adds, “I do not accept that holidaymakers should be sold holidays to ‘risk’ areas, those that advocate such policies behind the veneer of sustainable tourism or the desire to help people in difficult situations are misguided. The only way to create a sustainable tourist environment is to create a safe and balanced environment that benefits all”.

He concludes, “I remain concerned that we have yet another ‘risk’ destination, where there is a real prospect that holidaymakers are currently travelling to, or are intending to travel to Sri Lanka, either completely unaware, or knowingly travelling, without fully comprehensive travel insurance cover. This issue must be addressed by Consumers, the FCO, the Travel Industry and the Association of British Insurers (ABI) as a matter of urgency. To all intending holidaymakers, I would ask that you check your travel insurance policies before you travel, ensure you have cover for Sri Lanka, failure to do so could be very costly indeed!”

If you have been affected by any Risk Destination holiday complaints, please contact us at HolidayTravelWatch

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