New markets expose business travellers to rising risks

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The Independent Online
BRITISH business travellers are venturing to some of the most dangerous places on Earth, risking car jacking, mugging and poisoning, as UK trade grows sharply in some of the world's most unsafe countries.

A business travel insurance company ETI has surveyed a number of countries where trade with Britain has risen dramatically between 1992-1996, and paints a blood-curdling picture.

Albania, the Congo and Brazil are among the top 10 countries where trade links have boomed. They are also among the most dangerous places in the world for travellers, according to ETI.

UK exports to Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia grew in 1992-6 by well over 800 per cent - in Lithuania's case by 1,272 per cent. Their "ETI Ratings", where 1 is "very low risk" and 10 "very high risk", range from 5 for Estonia, to 6 for Latvia and 7 for Lithuania. The latter's main problems are "mugging, drugging and pickpocketing", according to ETI.

Meanwhile, Albania has grown fourth-fastest in export terms, and scores 10 for danger, with armed gangs and car jackings a common threat, according to the research.

The Congo, seventh in the export league, scores 9, while Brazil at tenth scores 8.

ETI tells the story of a businessman who recently went to Moscow. He hired a tax from Moscow airport to his hotel. During the trip the taxi was pulled over by another car, and two men came out of the other car, took his wallet and briefcase and beat him up.

"The next day ETI arranged for the money to be transferred to him through the Western Union. When the client picked up the money at the bank, he had only walked 100 meters down the street when he was mugged again."