Mission Of The Month: Athens - how to avoid trouble in paradise
Cahal Milmo is the chief reporter of The Independent and has been with the paper since 2000. He was born in London and previously worked at the Press Association news agency. He has reported on assignment at home and abroad, including Rwanda, Sudan and Burkina Faso, the phone hacking scandal and the London Olympics. In his spare time he is a keen runner and cyclist, and keeps an allotment.
Saturday 01 August 2009
Around three million British tourists visit Greece every year – and August is one of the busiest months for consular staff. With this number of visitors, we're kept busy dealing with a range of problems such as hospitalisations, lost or stolen passports, accidents, arrests and, sadly, sometimes death. Every year we help around 1,500 people. About a third of these are aged 16-20, often on their first holiday without parents.
We are regularly asked why so many young tourists need our help. There is no simple explanation. But it's most likely a combination of holiday euphoria (several of Europe's "party" resorts are in Greece), consumption of large amounts of alcohol, plus a feeling that the usual personal safety measures don't apply on holiday.
There are things we can do – working with tour operators, the local authorities and police – to prevent problems arising in the first place. But this is not an easy task. Many visitors are often on holiday to party hard and have as much fun as they can, away from the restrictions of home and family.
We've been working extremely hard on our 2009 awareness campaign – "Another Side to Paradise" – which is geared around getting safety messages across resorts and in places where young people gather – beaches, bars and clubs. We'd like to see holiday makers having just as much fun and a lot less trouble.
Sharon Silverwood-Robson MBE is Vice Consul in the British Embassy in Athens. For travel advice, see fco.gov.uk/travel
The Independent travel offers: Discover a world of inspiring destinations
- 1 Rarest Beanie Baby of them all could be sold for £62,500 on eBay
- 3 Driving while dehydrated can be just as dangerous as drink driving, study suggests
- 4 Farmer told to tear down mock-Tudor castle after hiding construction behind hay bales
- 5 One Direction: Louis Tomlinson launching his own record label, has already 'signed two acts'
It's Italian, but it's definitely not Italy: Stephen Wood visits Lampedusa, an island beyond the map's edge, where North Africa meets Rome and even the sharks are poets
How double-decker trains would improve Britain's railways
The 10 Best lightweight luggage
The 10 Best hiking boots
French air-traffic strike: Planned industrial action called off
If I’m being racially abused I don’t need a stranger with a saviour complex to rescue me
The only black face in the Ukip manifesto is on the page about overseas aid
Ukip is the only main political party to not address LGBT rights in its manifesto
Food banks: One million Britons will soon be using them, according to Trussell Trust
Religion isn't growing, it is becoming vigorous in its demise, says philosopher AC Grayling
BBC election debate: The one photo that summed up the whole 90-minute leaders debate
£24000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: With offices in Manchester, Lon...
Competitive (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a number of Marketi...
£20000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This well established business ...
£25000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Management Accountant - Manchester...