Over-55s 'taking too many holiday risks'

James Macintyre
Thursday 20 March 2008 01:00

As advice goes, it was always likely to cause offence. And it did. The Saga generation is outraged that the Foreign Office has seen fit to take a swipe at over-55s for taking too many risks when they go abroad.

According to the government department, older people are risking their health by pursuing sports such as bungee jumping and parasailing. Officials pointed to surveys showing that 20 per cent of the over-55s pursue activities they would not consider performing at home.

More than half of the age-group also drink more abroad than in the UK, apparently.

Rania Kossiori, the British vice-consul in Rhodes, has chosen to give an official view. "Most problems that we see with the older generation of Brits arise from the over-consumption of alcohol or food," she said. "Drinking and staying too long in the sun can make you ill. And undertaking strenuous activity like going swimming or snorkelling after a large meal can put you in unnecessary danger. People have drowned this way."

A Foreign Office minister, Meg Munn, said the over-55s can have "fun", but she added: "It is crucial that they make some simple preparations to help avoid encountering difficulties while abroad."

Responding to the instructions, a spokesman for Saga Insurance, Steve Ashton, said: "Just because you're over 50 does not mean you have to put your surfboard into storage or hang up your salopettes. Our experience shows that, in many ways, older travellers are much more conscientious about ensuring the activities they take part in are within their capability."

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