Duty of Care Failings Amongst UK Travel Industry Friday 2 November 2007 PDF Print In the recent Travel Incident Survey (TIS) conducted on behalf of We Care by Fisher’s Travel SOS (www.fisherstravelsos.com) 400 agencies throughout the UK were contacted to take part in a survey on ‘duty of care’ policies. Only 147 agreed to answer questions. The latest TIS centred on understanding what amount of ’care’ is provided by travel agencies and operators. Of the 147 agencies that responded, a staggering 81% (119) said that they did NOT have an emergency recovery policy for assisting customers in difficulty abroad. Seventy six percent (112) said they did not provide ANY emergency services for customers when abroad. When asked if they were able to offer assistance for a customer facing a specific emergency, e.g., financial, legal, medical, lost/stolen, accommodation, transport, the average response 64% (94) was ‘no’. In the provision of contact details for airlines or other transport services, the feedback was about even with 52% (77) reporting that they supplied details to their customers. However only 19% provided contact details for embassies or consular services. With travel incidents and emergencies widely reported in the media, the results were worse than expected. Julian Fisher, publisher of Fisher’s Travel SOS, “Looking at the results, it’s clear that agencies, who have actual personal contact with the customer and who are therefore in a position to provide a greater sense of ‘care’, don’t..! Whilst this non-caring attitude is expected from the ever increasing ‘online only’ agencies, we thought traditional agencies would have the sense and understanding to care for their travellers when travelling and when abroad. It seems that this is categorically not the case.” Perhaps more worrying was the revelation that travel agencies and operators are confused about the level of cover provided by insurance companies. Typical travel incidents or emergency scenarios were often defused by an agent who felt that ‘insurance’ would provide help and cover for all eventualities. When approached, the leading top 5 insurance companies said they ONLY provide assistance for medical emergencies and do not necessarily provide for other incidents. On checking what their 24hr emergency line covered, all insurance companies advised us that this service is for medical emergencies only. No other information is available. When interrogated further, the insurance companies said that no additional information, i.e., contact numbers and addresses for clinics, hospitals, doctors, pharmacies, was generally available. KT O’Neill, We Care, “While our survey did not set out to identify issues surrounding travel insurance it seems that the travel industry is working on a false belief that ‘care’ is the sole responsibility of the traveller who, for the wrong reasons, is being encouraged to buy insurance. Better they buy than not, but in the end this could be both dangerous to the individual as well as for the companies involved in providing his or her travel. A legal responsibility, a duty of care, is required of every business and with the Corporate Manslaughter Bill due to be passed into law, this failing will become the direct responsibility of the directors and/or owners who, in the case of a fatality, could end up with a custodial sentence. ‘Caring’ for customers and staff is, above all, good business. Helping prevent a crisis by providing up-to-date information makes solid business sense. I believe that these companies are allowing years of ignorance to cause complacency – to the detriment of all! Being a caring company is a good thing and this message needs to be heard.” Notes to Editors: WE CARE We Care is the not-for-profit organisation which was created to represent companies who ‘care’ about the environment, support and endorse responsible tourism whilst also establishing a new and essential standard of ‘a duty of care’ for travellers. Whether directly involved in the travel industry, or not, a We Care member has demonstrated its commitment and caring attitude towards staff, customers and the environment. The fundamental elements of We Care are directly associated with Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and a Duty of Care. www.wecare-travel.org FISHER’S TRAVEL SOS Fisher’s Travel SOS provides critical contact information, contact numbers, addresses and other information (emergency or other), for over 200 destinations around the world, supplied as guides in several printed or online formats. www.fisherstravelsos.com For more information please contact Julian Fisher - Publisher on 01420 84921 / 07768 614248 Email - firstname.lastname@example.org OR Furqan Syed - Head of Communications: Email: email@example.com Tel: 07886 303890 This press release was distributed by ResponseSource Press Release Wire on behalf of Fisher's Travel SOS in the following categories: Leisure & Hobbies, Travel, Public Sector, Third Sector & Legal, for more information visit http://pressreleasewire.responsesource.com/about.