The tragic shooting of British tourist Stephen Ashton on New Year's Eve in Ko Phangan, Thailand, has people questioning – is it safe?
The incident prompted the Foreign Office to review its travel advice for the country, warning that although Mr Ashton had been a bystander, Western tourists can become victims of 'vicious, unprovoked attacks'.
The British Behaviour Abroad Report 2012 brought out by the Foreign Office annually to highlight the danger hotspots for British tourists, found that Thailand was the second most troublesome destination, behind the Philippines.
The report's results are based on where people are most likely to need Consular assistance.
This assistance can include anything from crime, assault, hospitalisation, rape and abduction and the results are measured proportionally against the volume of British tourists that visit.
Jamaica came third on the list, and it found that Brits are most likely to be hospitalised in Greece, followed by Thailand and the Philippines.
The FCO says that of the 800,000 British nationals that visit Thailand each year most have a trouble-free visit, but be aware that there have been a, 'number of incidents of crime (sometimes violent) affecting visitors.'
Seven British tourists have been murdered in the country since 2009 and Western tourists have become victims unprovoked attacks, violent assaults and robberies in places such as Koh Phangan, Koh Samui and Chiang Mai.
Make sure you read up before you go and take note of the following advice...
How to travel safely
1. Always check the Foreign Office travel advice website, fco.org.uk, before going. It is updated to reflect current events, political tensions and natural events such as flooding and earthquakes.
2. Take out comprehensive travel and medical insurance before travelling.
3. Knowledge is power. Take time to read up on local laws, rules and history so you are aware of tensions or areas where you might get in trouble. For example, it is a legal requirement to carry your passport in Thailand - and people have been arrested for not having it on them.
4. Register with the Foreign Office's Locate service. This means that if any catastrophe happens whilst on your travels, they will be in a better position to assist you.
5. Remember to have fun but stay safe. Whilst it is more than likely you will have a great holiday, it is always wise to be sensible, watch your belongings and be aware of your surroundings.
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