York, Bath and Edinburgh head a list of UK cities regarded as safe to visit on a short break, according to new research published by Post Office Travel Insurance.
Almost seven-in-10 people surveyed about 42 city-break destinations rated the three UK cities as safe choices while Venice and Vienna achieved the highest overseas ratings of 59 and 58 per cent. All five of these cities performed well when respondents were asked to rate the risk factor of visiting individual cities, achieving scores of only 1-4 per cent.
However, respondents did have concerns about a number of overseas cities. Based on their personal experience or what they knew about them, Cairo (56 per cent), Bangkok (47 per cent), Istanbul (39 per cent), Marrakech (35 per cent), Moscow (34 per cent) and Miami (23 per cent) topped the poll of cities surveyed that respondents believed to be risky².
But the research revealed that people’s perceptions of risk do not always match reality. For example, although respondents expressed the view that Moscow and Miami were ‘risky’ cities, none of those who had actually visited the two cities experienced problems normally covered by travel insurance.
By contrast, while Athens and Hong Kong emerged as the cities where visitors had most often encountered difficulties – with 10 per cent of people reporting problems – fewer respondents rated them ‘risky’. Only 11 per cent believed Athens to be high risk and 15 per cent rated Hong Kong as risky.
More positively, Bath scored a clean sheet as none of the 251 survey respondents who had visited the city reported any problems. And although visitor numbers were smaller, nor did any of those who had visited Riga, Singapore and Stockholm.
Nick Kennett, Post Office director of Financial Services said: “City breaks are now the most popular type of holiday, and, while bad things can happen, our research shows that most people will have a trouble free experience.
“However, some people will be unlucky and that is why getting a reliable insurance policy is so important, irrespective of how short the break is. This will ensure you are looked after if you do fall victim to crime and will be able to avoid the high cost of replacing items.”
In fact, the Post Office research revealed that one-in-15 were victims of crime during their last city visit. Yet, while 55 per cent of respondents said the possibility of crime against them was an important factor when deciding whether to visit a city, nearly half (46 per cent) of those who had been on a city break failed to take out travel insurance.
The most common occurrence was having a wallet and the money in it stolen (24 per cent). Between 14 and 19 per cent suffered from the theft of a credit card, passport, electrical device, mobile phone, clothing, handbag/briefcase, luggage, sunglasses and jewellery.
Over three-in-five of respondents who had been victims of theft paid to replace stolen items because they were not covered by travel insurance. The Post Office research found that the average cost incurred by uninsured people varied from £302 for a wallet, £414 for an electrical device such as an iPad and £429 for a mobile phone to £645 for items of clothing, £770 for a handbag and £1,472 for jewellery.
The Post Office Travel Insurance research also established that over a quarter of respondents (26 per cent) felt they had been ‘ripped off’ on city visits – rising to 43 per cent of younger people, aged 18-24.
The biggest culprits across all destinations were thought to be taxi drivers. Eight per cent of people complained of being overcharged and six per cent said they were taken on a longer route than necessary, which increased the cost of taxi journeys. Other complaints included being overcharged in shops, restaurants and bars (seven per cent) and being made to pay a service charge they did not think was justified (seven per cent).
Post Office omnibus research showing the cities with the highest percentage of ‘risky’ ratings combined with low ‘safe’ scores:
Comparison of cities where the greatest number of respondents experienced travel insurance-related issues with ‘risk’ perceptions
|City||% experienced problems||% viewed as risky cities|
Item % Average replacement cost
Money/wallet 71% £302
Clothing 69% £645
Jewellery 66% £2,288
Electrical device 65% £414
Handbag/briefcase 64% £770
Sunglasses 62% £1,219
Mobile phone 62% £429
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