Sun, Sea and Scams
Aussies are running into hot water overseas, with more than half of travellers (60%) being exposed to crime on their travels, 13% have even been deterred from travelling to popular holiday hot spots where crime is rife.
Research conducted by Southern Cross Travel Insurance shows almost a third (31%) of unassuming travellers were cheated out of hundreds of dollars. Over 1 in 6 (16%) were conned out of over $500, with a small number losing over $1,000 of their holiday funds.
More Aussie tourists ran into trouble in Indonesia/Bali than any other country. Thailand, also popular with travellers for its idyllic beaches, carefree atmosphere and lively nightlife had a high crime rate, with the US, Hong Kong, China and Fiji also placing high on the tourist crime map.
Overall, travellers most commonly experienced theft, dishonesty and untrustworthy services whilst travelling overseas. 15% of Aussies were stung converting currency, whilst 7% were victims of bankcard fraud. Friends became foes for some unlucky travellers, befriended by someone who then demanded money, leaving them high and dry.
Craig Morrison, CEO for Southern Cross Travel Insurance, says: “For the large majority of Aussies who travel, holidays are an opportunity to experience new cultures, have fun and unwind. As the research shows, crime can and does happen on holiday, a time when too many let their guard down.”
In 2014-15, Aussies made more than 9.7 million trips overseas. During that time, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade managed 1,300 consular cases relating to theft or assault and are encouraging travellers to make more informed decisions about their travel.
A spokesperson for the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, says: “We advise travellers to be well informed ahead of travel, this includes subscribing to the country travel advice on the Smartraveller website and researching the particular crime and security warnings at your destination. We see scams and common crimes constantly evolving, it pays to know the local risks.”
The survey also found:
- 21% believe they were knowingly given the incorrect change
- 11% found themselves in the backseat of an unlicensed taxi
- 9% have used dodgy Wi-Fi
- 5% were mugged or robbed on holiday
- 5% had their valuables pick-pocketed
- Aussie travellers’ misfortune is putting a dent in their back pocket, with many heading off on holiday without travel insurance. 14% found themselves at a loss with no travel insurance, whilst just under half were not adequately covered.
Over a third (38%) of those subjected to crime on holiday admitted the experience put a dampener on their holiday, ruining part – if not all – of their entire trip.
“We want all Aussies to make holidays memorable for the right reasons and encourage travellers to be vigilant, aware of their surroundings and be as responsible with their personal belongings and safety overseas as they would be back in Australia,” Craig added.